Eight bars into his “Tennessee Waltz” opener, easygoing and affable Stacy Ward MacAdams had the Metropolitan Room, clearly filled with confirmed admirers, solidly on his side. MacAdams, bringing with him the casual at-sea ambiance of his upscale cruise lines’ piano bar hosting, bantered with his listeners as he played and sang a potpourri of standards and unlikely others. The difference this night on solid land, and it was quite a difference, was that instead of willing passengers of varying abilities coming to the mic to alternate with MacAdams’s pleasing baritone and engaging patter, his guests were impressive professionals.
What became a parade of other vocalists began as an apparently impetuous move on the part of one woman, who, in the middle of the gospel song “I Just Come from the Fountain,” arose from her table and, with a strong and compelling soprano, completed the song. Shortly thereafter, Steve Ross was introduced, took over the piano and, following a characteristically noteworthy “Can-Can” by Cole Porter, found it impossible to deny the audience’s demand for “more!” More than a half dozen other of MacAdams’s musical friends were in the room and, before the night would end, that initial seemingly impulsive lady, later identified as Jeanne Ommerlé, would treat everyone to an equally stirring “One Kiss” by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein, Cabaret Scenes’ March cover girl, Colleen McHugh would sing Porter’s “I’m Unlucky at Gambling,” and Helena Grenot his “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” As noted, the selections offered by MacAdams and the bevy of vocalist friends ran from standards to gospel to classics to opera, including Noël Coward, Irving Berlin and a rendition of Puccini’s “O, Mio Babbino Caro" by soprano, Lisa Riegel. Other guest performers included Gay Marshall and Maxine Gordon who also joined MacAdams in duets, and Maria Federova with “Wein Wein.”
If there were any non-singers in the audience, they were few and far between, as confirmed by several sing-alongs in which nearly everybody joined in, sometimes invited, sometimes spontaneously. It was a party as much as a show, completely irresistible, and it made one yearn for a nice relaxing transatlantic crossing with Stacy Ward MacAdams in the cruise ship’s piano bar.
MacAdams will be back performing his brilliant show at 53 Above Cabaret on February 1 at 6:30 pm....See you then.