Standards and Stories
Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, February 25, 2017
Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes
Is there really anyone more charming than Tony Danza? The Who’s the Boss star’s recent residency cements himself as the type men want to share a beer with and ladies want to bring home to meet mother. Add to that allure a pleasant voice, some fancy footwork and even some ukulele chops and you suddenly have a guy that the whole room is madly in love with.
Taking the stage in a classic-crooner black suit, white shirt and black necktie, Danza indeed focused on standards, deftly landing a lively “As Long as I’m Singing” (Bobby Darin), a spare “It Was a Very Good Year” (Ervin Drake) and a fabulously restrained “The Second Time Around” (Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Huesen). The voice is a bit more than serviceable, but, with this smart song selection, every piece fits him like a glove.
Particularly effective was a “fuggedaboudit” version of “How About You?” (Ralph Freed/Burton Lane), which showcased both Danza’s New Yorker sensibility and a nimble tap break. The shocked look on many of the audience members’ faces as Danza trotted out those tappin’ toes was worth the ticket price alone. Also great was a warm, but underplayed, “I Don’t Remember Ever Growing Up” (Artie Bulter), which proves that Danza can be more than just the charmer, he also can break your heart.
Perhaps most exciting was Danza’s inclusion of a few songs from his recent Broadway flop, Honeymoon in Vegas. With his irresistible appeal, he brought merriment, humor and even some ukulele-plucking to a few of the Jason Robert Brown gems and, even though most were not familiar with these songs, the audience was enraptured. Judging from his reception, one can only hope that Mr. Danza becomes a standard on stages—both Broadway and cabaret—from now on.