I entered Feinstein's/54 Below's dark, sexy, red supper club through a series of steps leading us underground (I now understood why it's called 54 Below). My friend Lori and I were greeted by a hostess and whisked off to a table near the stage, where we ordered cocktails and waited with anticipation for the show to start.
The cause of the buzz in the room? We were about to embark on an adventure of music and lyrics, with songs by Grammy nominated songwriter Tor Hyams and veteran Broadway performer Lisa Rothauser. Not only do Tor and Lisa work together professionally, but they are also dating one another (yes it's totally adorable!). This was the debut of their favorite selections from their four-year collaboration in musical theater, and I found their songs to be creative, upbeat and endearing.
Lisa started the night by belting out the song What The F--- and the energy was electric. I was an insta-fan from the first swear word that Lisa uttered. Lisa is a slight brunette who was wearing a tight leather skirt, with hair in a funky updo hairstyle that defied the odds of gravity. She has an incredibly strong yet carefree presence with passion and joy that emanated from her like a palpable energy. Tor wore black glasses and has a really kind face and a sweet, quieter presence. He was more in the background for most of the night, playing the piano and exuding a calm presence against Lisa's more animated personality. The yin and yang effect was definitely evident with this pair.
The music was very catchy, and the lyrics were engaging, creative and relatable. Broadway in the Finger Lakes had a church-like quality to it, and when I looked around the room everyone in the audience had a smile on his or her face. Even bigger smiles broke out for funny Broadway veterans John Cariani and Josh Grisetti who performed the endearing comedic duet Broke about two broke guys down on their luck.
On the romantic front, My One and Only, a humorous story about two people discussing having a one-night stand, was highly entertaining and perfectly enacted by Leenya Rideout and Oliver Thornton. And Stealing Time, about setting out to have an affair and falling in love, was sung by cutie CJ Eldred in a melodic, sweet and romantic fashion. The amount of talent in the room was undeniable and Drive, sung by sexy vocal powerhouse Tony Vincent, was no exception.
The highlight of the night, though, had to be when Tor and Lisa took to the stage. Singing Maybe Maybe Not, Tor and Lisa talked about (or rather sung about) their physical and emotional issues ranging from chin hair to abandonment issues. The chemistry between these two came to life and their love was so evident. I felt like I was getting a peak into the beginnings of their relationship, and I loved it.
There's no maybe maybe not when it comes to Tor and Lisa. They are definitely a duo to follow, and I look forward to more more more.