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Call Her ‘Madam’

The sophomore season of City Center’s “Encores!” series – semi-staged concert versions of neglected musicals – kicked off Feb. 16 with a lively reading of Irving Berlin, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s 1950 “Call Me Madam.” No one will ever mistake this fluff for great musical theater, or even as much more than a vehicle for its star – in the case of the original, Ethel Merman and here, Tyne Daly.

Daly got through much of her spin as Sally Adams, the newly appointed ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Lichtenburg, on charm and a refusal to take any of this too seriously.

The Berlin songs proved irresistible, the highlights being “It’s a Lovely Day” and the famous contrapuntal duet, “You’re Just in Love,” that Daly sang with Lewis Cleale playing what used to be called the juvenile lead. But the show was stolen by the charming Melissa Errico as Cleale’s beloved, the Princess Maria. Choreographer Kathleen Marshall and six dancers goosed things a bit with the pastiche “Something to Dance About,” and Charles Repole’s limited staging was nicely suggestive.