Wednesday,November 29,2000


New York Post


Feinstein's at the Regency
Park Avenue at 61st Street
(212) 339-4095
Through Sunday.

FOR many cabaret buffs, the classic film musical "White Christmas" - starring Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen - has been a part of our lives seemingly forever.

So when Clooney begins showing movie clips during her act at the nightclub Feinstein's, it feels like the best of all possible ways to start the holiday season.

She chats with us about the making of that film in her wry, unpretentious way - as if we were guests in her home.

And when she finally begins singing the numbers Irving Berlin wrote for her and Crosby, the emotional impact is powerful. The performance takes on a near-iconic quality.

With the ineffable mixture of warmth, tenderness and rue that's hers alone, Clooney shares her solo feature from the film, "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me."

And then a number that both she and Crosby got to sing in the film, "Count Your Blessings."

By the time she wraps things up with "White Christmas," the sentiment in the room could not be deeper. She gets a standing ovation, and wisely resists any temptation to do an encore. What could possibly follow?

The set begins with pleasant, perfunctory readings of such superficial seasonal standards as "Let It Snow," "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."

Clooney's ad-libs between the songs are more interesting than the songs.

Guest pianist John Bayless' renditions of themes by Rachmaninoff, John Williams and others feel like an intrusion in the middle of Clooney's show. But if they give Clooney a chance to catch her breath, we can't complain.