NYC Dueling Pianos

By Pearl Chen

Fans of rock ‘n’ roll will find themselves in good company at NYC Dueling Pianos. Located at the Ha! Comedy Club in Times Square, the high-octane, interactive show features two talented pianists (along with a saxophonist and drummer) who take requests from the audience and lead drinking crowds into uninhibited group karaoke.


Saxophonist Mark Rivera joins the NYC Dueling Pianos. Photo by: Pearl Chen

Expect a lot of Billy Joel, Beatles, and Elton John. On the night that my friend and I attended, we heard classic tunes like “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and “Benny and the Jets.” But we also got a smattering of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “That Thing You Do,” and, in the words of one of the musicians, “cheesy 80s one-hit-wonders.”

Each table comes with sheets for song requests that you can fill out and drop onstage at anytime during the show.  The more you tip the musicians, the better the chances of hearing your song played (the most persuasive requests were around $20). If you don’t like a request, you can axe it with a bigger tip. For instance, an $11 bid for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was cut short mid-song by a $13 request for CeeLo Green’s “F*** you.” The crowd went nuts. It was the best choice of the night.

Regardless of how inebriated you get (there is a one-drink minimum), you’d be hard-pressed to not join in at least one song by the end of the evening. While the pianists never actually “duel” with each other, they are good at creating “contests” within the audience, such as drinking games to “Roxanne” and a shouting match to “Sweet Caroline.”

The venue hosts lots of bachelorette and birthday parties, but ladies be warned that the musicians seem to have a vendetta against “chick songs.” Leave the Britney and the Christina at home because you’re only going to hear half-assed versions performed (if at all). When it comes to drunkin’ group karaoke, these dudes definitely like to keep it old-school.


Last 5 posts by Pearl Chen

Posted on 25 Mar 2011 at 10:56pm
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