By the time David Hyde Pierce and Michael Feinstein sang Cole Porter's "You're the Top" last night at Feinstein's at Loews Regency, I'd been smiling for so long that my cheeks ached. Their retro holiday nightclub act, which plays until December 30, invoked male performers of another era whose duets (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas, or Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire in The Ziegfeld Follies) were always gay in the lively and bright sense. Although, gay in the other sense admirably captures the spirit of the evening, as well.
From Feinstein's jazzy rendition of "So in Love" from Kiss Me Kate to Hyde Pierce's "You Won't Succeed on Broadway (If You Don't Have Any Jews)" from Spamalot, I loved every moment, grinning goonily at the duo for over an hour.
After their introductory medley, the two unfortunately alternated spots, Feinstein doing his young crooner bit and Hyde Pierce singing comedic interludes. (One song, Jerry Herman's "Penny in My Pocket," ended with Hyde Pierce tossing said penny at me -- we were spitting distance from the performers -- and my not catching it. It landed instead on my sister's lap. But since the same rules of foul balls in baseball games do not, I submit, apply to nightclubs, I got the penny at the end of the night.)
Their alternating songs only seemed unfortunate since more duets could have taken better advantage of the Bing-Crosby-and-an-intellectual-Bob-Hope-hit-the-road dynamic. When they sang "You're the Top," it was a pleasant change from the smattering of heartfelt Feinstein solos.
At one point, Hyde Pierce and Feinstein said they'd be doing a number originally done by Bing and Frank, "And if you don't know who Bing and Frank are, you're probably in the wrong show." This is true. You better know you like musical standards interspersed with cornball stand-up bits before shelling out the $100 or so, plus the $40 food and beverage minimum, per person. The audience comprised primarily septuagenarians for this and, yes, other reasons.
Lovers of 1940s Broadway, holiday cheesiness, David Hyde Pierce and/or Michael Feinstein should consider putting this show at the top of their holiday wish list, though. It turns out, money can buy happiness, at least for a couple of hours.