A classy-looking thesp in tux and tap shoes, Tony Danza is fulfilling a dream. Taking more than a few cues from the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Louis Prima and Ol’ Blue Eyes, the personable and energetic Danza does the Vegas thing for his 50th birthday.
Born in 1951, “the year Tupperware was invented and the credit card was conceived,” Danza rolls through a half-century-old medley of song hits, which include the folksy “On Top of Old Smokey,” “Because of You” (Tony Bennett’s debut hit) and “Undecided.” Too young at the time to remember correctly, Danza credits the latter to the Mills Brothers rather than the Ames Brothers.
Growing up in New York, Danza recalls the “doo-wop era, born on a city stoop,” with a medley of “Blue Moon,” as done by the Marcels, and the teen dream tune “Gloria.” Loosening his bow tie for some Louie Prima Italiano, Danza whips his adoring fans into a party mood with hand-clapping medley of “Buena Sera,” “Oh Marie” and “Angelina.”
A tentative color-by-numbers piano performance of “Take the ‘A’ Train,” and a cautious cornet solo on “Angel Eyes” demonstrate Danza’s versatility; his dapper tap dancing proves to be slick, smooth and elegant. He also includes a few anecdotes from his TV run on “Taxi” and a warming nod to his daughters with the concluding portion of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Soliloquy.”
But he is most comfortable with a few smoky saloon songs: “When Your Lover Has Gone,” “It Never Entered My Mind” and “I’ll Only Miss Her When I Think of Her.” In a Sinatra mood, Danza serenades with “Our Love Is Here to Stay” and encores with a surprisingly rare uptempo take on the classic Matt Dennis torcher “Everything Happens to Me.”