I am a huge fan of Norbert Leo Butz on stage. The man is an incredible singer, actor and puts his all into everything he does. (Hell, I saw Big Fish three times on Broadway because of him and then had the honor of playing his role this past June in a New Jersey production of that show.) But seeing him in a different surrounding - in a concert setting - it's pure magic. Don't go to Feinstein's thinking you are going to be hearing showtunes because Butz gives us much more. Taking us on a journey of dealing with all the numerous women in his life (daughters, wife, ex wife, mother, mother-in-law, nieces) he uses Greek stories of goddesses to weave a story that is engaging, enlightening, and pure entertainment.
And then he opens that mouth and shares that voice that can send chills down my spine. There is a rawness and a truth in his singing that truly makes him one of my favorite male singers in New York City. I told my friend this evening he could easily have had a career as a country, blues singer had he decided to go that route. Lucky for us, he shares all of those colors in his song choices. Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town, Sunny Came Home, Come on Eileen, and oh yes...there is ONE showtune....Wig in A Box from Hedwig (not a standard for sure).
Michael Moritz Jr. is the MD/pianist and he is incredible at his job as well (the entire band is top notch). The arrangements that Moritz does is truly wonderful. The man really is a a genius in his own right as a producer of several shows and projects.
I could have stayed there for another hour tonight because it's just that entertaining. Butz is a performer who doesn't believe in giving 1/2 of anything. His entire body, heart, and soul are there on that stage and the sweat pours off of him showing just how hard he is working. And yet...he makes it feel effortless. From accompanying himself on the guitar to singing a moving ballad - he holds an audience in his hands. It's obvious why he's so beloved in New York. Television may have grabbed him up with Bloodline, but he's New York's son and we're lucky to have him as ours.
Do yourself a favor and get to 54th street to catch this show. It runs several nights until August 12th. (You can also grab the CD of the show from Broadway Records.)