Marieann Meringolo’s strength is performance. This New Yorker has a powerful presence and when accompanied by seven accomplished musicians put on a good show three evenings at the Metropolitan Room over the weekend. Meringolo includes several songs by Michel Legrand including “I Will Wait For You” and “Windmills of Your Mind.” She shares bits of her Italian heritage with a lively and whimsical song she grew up with called “Italian Menu.” Connecting especially well with the men in the audience as she moved through the club, everyone then gladly participated in “Fever.” Meringolo shared with us that, for her, “Peggy Lee was the essence of hot, cool and sultry rolled into one.”
Her Dionne Warwick Medley, dedicated to that “diva,” was strong with noteworthy arrangements by her pianist and musical director, Doyle Newmyer. She told the story of how one woman fears that to find true romantic love you have to find true self-love with excerpts from “Walk on By,” “Valley of the Dolls,” and “What’s It All About Alfie?”
Meringolo was not only influenced by Peggy Lee and Dionne Warwick, but her idol was Streisand. “She changes the molecules in my body. There’s not a morning I begin without Streisand questions running through my mind,” said Meringolo. It was evident that she enjoyed singing love songs about hearts uniting, breaking and falling in love again. The show continued to build and ended positively with “I Am Blessed,” followed by an encore, “Get Happy.”
Eric Michael Gillett directed. In addition to Newmyer on piano, her musicians included: Boots Maleson on bass, Ayodele Maakheru on guitar, Sipho Kunene on drums, Richie Vitale on trumpet, Jonathan Kantor on tenor saxophone and the fabulous Danny Hall on trombone.