Michael Feinstein

Michael Feinstein

Tunes from the era of the Great American Songbook will be in the spotlight when performer Michael Feinstein brings his show to Ravinia on Aug. 29.

"Ravinia is one of the great places to perform. I've loved it since the first time I was there 20 years ago," Feinstein said, during a recent telephone interview.

Feinstein will perform at Ravinia with Chicago native Haley Reinhart, who competed on the 10th season of "American Idol."

"It's the first time I'm performing with Haley Reinhart, whom I've admired," he said. "Her singing is classic ... She's got great vocal ability... We've hit it off in our preparation for the show."

Feinstein will be accompanied by a 17-piece band in concert.

In addition to being a singer and pianist, Feinstein is the Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony. He's a strong supporter of classic American tunes - the songs from the Great American Songbook era - and also a champion of music education.

"For me, singing is storytelling," Feinstein said. He said he tours most of the year, performing about 250 dates every year. Grateful for all of the musical work he's able to do, Feinstein said "it's a blessing."

The entertainer said he continues to find the music world exciting. "Music is a world that's always expanding for me because there's so much out there," he said.

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There's something about music that has a way of connecting to the heart and bringing people together, he stressed. He believes music can "unify our society."

When Feinstein puts together his new season of shows, he said he tries to veer from bringing the same concert to fans year after year.

"I always make sure I do new and different things," Feinstein said. In his shows, audiences will find that Feinstein also gives interesting tidbits and historical information about the songs he performs.

"And the dialogue is always on the humorous side," he said, with a laugh.

The singer owns various Feinstein's cabaret and supper clubs around the country. He said he'd like to open a Feinstein's in Chicago in the future.

Feinstein also started the Great American Songbook Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the music of that era. Learn more at thesongbook.org.

FYI: An Evening with Michael Feinstein and Haley Reinhart will be held at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois. Tickets are $80/$70. Lawn seats are $20 and $25 on the day of the show. Visit ravinia.org.


Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.