Holiday festivities come to Park Ave. with the arrival of Michael Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce at the Regency. Feinstein has been celebrating the season for years now, usually in a solo spot mixing the big-band sound with holiday favorites. This time he brings along Hyde Pierce, and the two make an especially jolly pair.
While Feinstein offers a couple of typically rousing song interpretations (in this case “I Wanna Be Around” and “So in Love”), the emphasis is on comedy. Pierce has over the past seasons established himself locally as one of the stage’s top funny men, with humor so dry you want to hide the kindling.
Joined together on the small platform, they seem like a long-established comedy act built on mutual admiration, with a trace of deep-seated antagonism. Given that Pierce has a strong musical background — not in popular music, like Feinstein, but in what he calls “unpopular music” (i.e. classical) — this club act works on both musical and comedy levels.
Pierce’s contributions include an entertaining reading of Jerry Herman’s “Penny in My Pocket” (which was ignominiously dropped from the tryout of “Hello, Dolly!” when they decided the leading lady needed another big number). He scores with the bravura “Ill Wind,” a wickedly funny vocal setting of the finale of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4, set to words by British satirist Michael Flanders. Pierce also demonstrates a tender musical style with the lovely “Your Face,” a little-known personal ballad by John Kander.
Feinstein counters with a strong reading of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse’s “What Kind of Fool Am I?” And one of the high points, inevitably, is Feinstein’s heartfelt “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
But the evening is at its merriest when the stars combine for such items as a zesty rendition of Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top,” “The Best of Friends” (from Marc Shaiman and the Bergmans), and Les Brown’s holiday novelty “We Wish You the Merriest.”
John Oddo and his band provide their customary high level of support, with a couple of nice solos from Mark Vinci on sax.
As an encore, the two sit at the piano for a wicked four-hand reading of Scott Joplin’s “Maple Rag Leaf,” bringing new meaning to the concept of cross-handed piano playing. Feinstein and Hyde Pierce dispense holiday cheer through Dec. 30, when Barbara Cook comes in to join Feinstein for two New Year’s Eve shows.