Review: ‘Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley’

'Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley'

With Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley darting among the tables as if they were so many boulders, "When I'm calling you-oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo" ricochets from one end of Feinstein's to the other. It's not a traditional opening for an act at a major nitery, but one that immediately establishes the evening's main elements: two strong voices mixed with a friendly and happily unpretentious sense of fun.

With Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley darting among the tables as if they were so many boulders, “When I’m calling you-oo-oo-oo, oo-oo-oo” ricochets from one end of Feinstein’s to the other. It’s not a traditional opening for an act at a major nitery, but one that immediately establishes the evening’s main elements: two strong voices mixed with a friendly and happily unpretentious sense of fun.

One of Broadway’s most accomplished musical couples, Mazzie and Danieley are nearing their 11th wedding anniversary. Mazzie made her mark with starring roles in “Passion” and “Ragtime,” cementing her comedy credentials in the 1999 revival of “Kiss Me Kate.” Danieley — his wife tells us the correct pronunciation is “daniel-ee” — first surfaced in “Floyd Collins,” coming to Broadway in the 1997 “Candide,” followed by “The Full Monty” and “Curtains.” He now sports a mustache and goatee but nevertheless retains a youthful air that makes the couple look slightly mismatched until they start singing.

The “Indian Love Call” fragment is part of a nine-minute comedy medley from arranger David Loud, and it’s a fine one that threatens to be the high point of the affair. The duo clown through 17 numbers, pert, funny and fueled with fine singing. They also give us a rendition of Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It” in which every word is crystal clear — not all that usual nowadays — and every joke lands.  

Most of the 75-minute set is drawn from the couple’s 2005 CD “Opposite You,” which is presented in its entirety. And that is the source of the minor flaws in what’s nevertheless a highly enjoyable act: Some of what works so well on disc proves less effective on the nightclub floor.

Early on, Mazzie steps into the spot to sing the Arlen-Mercer “Come Rain or Come Shine,” stopping the lighthearted clowning with art-song beauty. After one refrain, though, Danieley takes over and moves into another Arlen tune in what turns out to be a four-song medley. This sequence is great on the CD, but at Feinstein’s, one felt frustrated when what appeared to be a brilliant “Come Rain or Come Shine” from Mazzie was stolen away. This happens more than once, with the singers and Loud (also music director of the album) seemingly constrained by the CD lineup.

Fortunately, Mazzie gets to shine with the CD’s combined “I Got Lost in His Arms” and “Who Are You Now?,” while Danieley has “I Won’t Send Roses.” The title track is an attractive duet from Ahrens and Flaherty’s “The Glorious Ones.” Comic highlight is “Ring Them Bells,” which is not from the album but was sung by Mazzie in the national tour of Kander and Ebb’s “And the World Goes ‘Round.” Mazzie sings and clowns while Danieley gets winningly into the act as a shy and tentative bell-ringer hidden behind the piano.

Affair builds up to — what else? — a Sondheim medley. “Happiness,” Clara’s opening number from “Passion,” is not the sort of thing you expect with your drinks and desserts. But Mazzie gives it full vocal power; it hasn’t sounded so good since she first introduced the song in 1994. “Good Thing Going,” a “Too Many Mornings” duet, “Not a Day Goes By” — all bring the act to a glorious high.

The couple end with their rendition of “Abba Dabba Honeymoon,” starting in a gentle manner and finishing big. Mazzie and Danieley certainly brighten up the room with their music and comedy, but it would be even better if she were allowed to seize the spotlight and sing her way into the audience’s heart.

Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley

Feinstein's at Loew's Regency; 140 capacity; $75 top plus $40 minimum

Production

Presented inhouse. Opened, reviewed March 24, 2009. Runs through April 4.

Cast

Musical director-arranger, David Loud; bass, Bill Ellison.
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