Entering from two far corners of the Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center — with that sumptuous view of the West Side — Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley have the romantic dash and daring to begin a breathlessly ardent 15-tune medley with “Indian Love Call.” Partly tongue in cheek, but musically rich and right on, the young lovers meet at center stage to bill and coo by way of some legendary pairings. Think Annie Oakley and Frank Butler one-upping each other with “Anything You Can Do” or Fiona and Tommy running through the heather on the hill to the strains of “Almost Like Being in Love,” and Sky Masterson wooing his mission doll with “I’ll Know.” The medley is a celebration of Broadway, a celebration of love and another melodic chapter in the Lincoln Center American Songbook series.
It’s not surprising to find “No Two People (Have Ever Been So in Love)” among the tuneful love letters, and sung with such hand-holding sincerity. The Broadway couple is a real-life married pair and when they sing, the heart seems to beat a little faster. Danieley, late of “The Full Monty,” is an assured light baritone, and the bright soprano of Mazzie — a three-time Tony nominee (“Passion,” “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Ragtime”) — combine for a richly blended perf.
Tiptoeing down lover’s lane with medleys by Irving Berlin and Harold Arlen, the two find themselves in Stephen Sondheim country and it’s “Too Many Mornings” and “Not a Day Goes By” that carry the emotional strength to envelop the listener and melt the heart.
This is one savvy pair. It’s unfortunate that all the creamy romanticism was squeezed to one rushed hour for a two-concert performance. This act should settle down in a plush room — the Cafe Carlyle perhaps — and run for a month or two. It’s simply too good to disappear into the still of the night.
The weekend concluded with a performance by John Barrowman, the Bobby of the recent Kennedy Center production of “Company.” So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Sondheim is very much on deck again with a robust encore of “Being Alive.” Barrowman projects a vigorous boy-next-door sincerity and abundant energy. He sails though a patriotic George M. Cohan medley, the Gershwins’ “Strike up the Band” and Arlen’s “If I Only Had a Brain” with the vigor of a drum major.
The singer pushes a little too hard at times. One could do without a doo-wop version of “Fools Rush In,” but Barrowman’s relaxed take on the Rodgers-Hart questionnaire “Where or When” proves him to be a distinctive crooner.