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Bringing traditions online: A New York City tradition goes virtual to ring in the season

Broadway star Norm Lewis has a holiday special, “54 Below Premieres: Norm Lewis,” which is currently streaming on demand through Thursday, Dec. 31. (Courtesy of The Katz Company)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sometimes the stars align and plans come to fruition.

This is what happened for Broadway star Norm Lewis recently.

Lewis and his holiday shows at Feinstein’s/54 Below have become a sold-out New York City tradition over the past five years and, this year, he is continuing the tradition virtually – with the help of some special guests and surprises – to ring in the season.

“We had to do it,” he says of the special. “We’ve been doing it for five years. We had ideas that were moving around and it all came into place.”

With the pandemic altering every aspect of the world, Lewis didn’t want to let the tradition of a holiday show end, which is why he took the virtual route. “54 Below Premieres: Norm Lewis” is currently streaming on demand through Thursday, Dec. 31.

Lewis is joined by musical director Joseph Joubert on keyboards, George Farmer on upright and electric bass and Perry Cavari on drums and percussion.

The concert features songs from “The Norm Lewis Christmas Album,” as well as some new songs he will debut as he reflects on 2020.

It is directed by Richard Jay-Alexander and executive produced by The Katz Company. Joining Lewis on stage are Sierra Boggess, Pastor Bobby Lewis, as well as a few surprises.

Lewis says the green light for the holiday show came later than he wanted and had only a few weeks to get everything situated.

“I met with (producer) Cody Williams on Zoom and talked to him about what he could bring to the table,” Lewis says. “We had some more meeting and ended up putting him in charge of the whole thing.”

Most recently, Lewis was seen starring in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” on Netflix, the Hulu miniseries “Mrs. America,” and the NBC television special “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!,” alongside John Legend, Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper.

He says being able to perform the holiday show has been amazing.

“It’s like I’m able to give a little gift to the world,” he says. “We’ve also been able to reach more people. I love performing in the venue but there’s a max of 200 people in there. Having the special online has opened up the door to more people being able to see what we do.”

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