Michael Feinstein plays Gershwin

An Evening with Michael Feinstein Singing Gershwin will be live at the Van Wezel at 8 p.m. on Feb. 20.

SARASOTA — Michael Feinstein has built a career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American Songbook to the world.

From recordings that have earned him five Grammy award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe — in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House — his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.

Don’t miss An Evening with Michael Feinstein Singing Gershwin — at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Van Wezel.

Why sing Gershwin? The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced Michael Feinstein to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded. Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music.

Michael’s book “The Gershwins and Me” — the Los Angeles Times best-seller from Simon & Schuster — features a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren.

Feinstein has had the opportunity to work and be inspired by a plethora of note-worthy figures. He has written songs with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill, Maya Angelou and Marshall Barer. Feinstein interviewed and performed alongside music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more. He released the CDs The Power Of Two — collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson — and “Cheek To Cheek,” recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook.

Tickets are $37-$77. Purchase tickets at VanWezel.org, the box office or by calling 941-263-6799. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6766. Pre-show dining is available at Mattison’s at the Van Wezel located in the theater and can be reserved at VanWezel.org or through the Box Office.

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