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My View: A Very Special Christmas Gift! Norm Lewis at Feinstein’s/54 Below

My View: A Very Special Christmas Gift! Norm Lewis at Feinstein’s/54 Below

It is no accident that Norm Lewis is in his 7th year, as a holiday headliner

at FEINSTEIN’S 54 BELOW. He skipped a year due to the pandemic, 

and filmed last year’s Christmas Special in the club, garnering an EMMY nomination,

but the man was back in full force Thursday night, playing to a crowd that couldn’t be happier

to see him and be in the presence of the magnetic star and that sterling voice.

Norm Lewis’s show is full of fun, frolic and solid musicianship. It is directed by

his longtime friend and collaborator, Richard Jay-Alexander, with musical direction

and arrangements by the equally gifted Joseph Joubert. The band is top-notch,

with Michael Olatuja on electric and acoustic bass and the very imaginative, “toy-carrying’

(as Norm told us) Perry Cavari, on percussion.

Emotions ran high and truth rang deep as we witnessed him communicate with 

the audience, as song after song just illuminated and displayed the magical

gifts this actor/singer possesses. Whether it was the “opener” claiming he was “HOME”

or bringing new life to “SOMEWHERE” and even catching us up on a job he lost, doing

42nd Street for the Chicago Lyric Opera (and in Paris), which he “righted” by asking

for a volunteer, dressing them as Peggy Sawyer and doing the big number, to stop

her from going back to “Allentown.” Too many highlights to write about, but hearing

him soar through Maltby & Shire’s “STARTING HERE, STARTING NOW” was the greatest

gift he could have given us. Another emotional moment was when Norm called Richard Jay-Alexander

up to the stage and Richard got emotional talking about Norm and his talents and getting through

the pandemic (which we all acknowledged is not over yet). There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when

the two bonded to lead us to light, and into the future ahead with “GET HAPPY/HAPPY DAYS.”

Lewis has invited different guests on various nights of the run.

A house full of fans from all over the map were in the house, as were conductor, Steve 

Reineke & husband Eric Gabbard and equally of note, Richard Weitz from WME with his daughter, Demi, both of

whom founded QUARANTUNES, during the pandemic. I must admit, it was also quite humbling to

get a shout out, from the stage, along with my wife, Eda. We are avid music lovers and attend many,

many shows, so it was truly a surprise and holiday blessing to receive in such a warm room.

This engagement is not to be missed and resumes Sunday night through December 24th (Christmas Eve).

Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis
Richard Jay-Alexander & Norm Lewis
Joseph Joubert, music director
Richard Jay-Alexander, Norm Lewis, Demi Weitz, Richard Weitz
Richard Jay-Alexander & Norm Lewis
Eda Sorokoff, Stephen Sorokoff, Steven Reineke, music director/conductor The New York Pops, Eric Gabbard
Eric Gabbard & Eda Sorokoff
NORM LEWIS HOLIDAY COCKTAIL at FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW

Cabaret

Stephen studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Besides being a pianist, Stephen’s business career was in the Fashion Industry. He was CEO of a textile manufacturing facility and President of an international textile machinery company. Stephen was on the Board of Directors of the “First All Children’s Theatre” which brought the Stephen Schwartz musical The Trip and Captain Louie to the Kennedy Center in Wash DC. His wife Eda, an interior space designer and classical pianist was on the Board of Barrington Stage Company and is still active at BSC. Stephen’s photographs, videos and articles appear on Broadwayworld.com, T2Conline.com and The New York Observer. He is active in the entertainment events at the Friars Club, where he is a member. Stephen is also an Honorary Board Member of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook. Stephen Sorokoff@gmail.com

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