TV-&-stage star Tyne Daly breezed into Feinstein’s last May with a surprisingly refreshing act that made her a welcome addition to the local cabaret scene. She returns for “The Second Time Around” with somewhat more bumpy results; Daly remains every bit as likable, but the material lets her down.
Show opens strong, with a topical rewrite of Irving Berlin’s “Hostess with the Mostess on the Ball” (which Daly performed memorably some years back in the Encores! production of “Call Me Madam”).
But taking the tenth anniversary of Feinstein’s as their cue, the star’s advisors have built a show themed around songs about time. This leads to some less than inspired choices, beginning with Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul’s “Oh Happy Day” and continuing with a 13th century ballad and a couple of slices of Rudy Vallee.
Daly consistently entertains — peaking with her rendition of Bessie Smith’s “Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair” — but it’s an uphill battle.
Act becomes markedly better once the performer turns to show tunes for the final third, beginning with Frank Loesser’s “Adelaide’s Lament” and “Ooh, My Feet,” plus the Bernstein-Comden-Green “I Can Cook Too” — something of a sampler of theater roles Daly could and perhaps should have played along the way.
Daly apparently wants to do “Dear World,” the Jerry Herman “Madwoman of Chaillot” musical that served as a 1969 vehicle for Angela Lansbury. She winds up the act with a mini-medley of three songs from that show, capping it — and the set — with a rousing “I Don’t Want to Know.”
Musical director/orchestrator John McDaniel capably leads the quintet. Act sounds fine, musically and vocally; it just doesn’t have the excitement of Daly’s nitery debut. In retrospect, they might have done better the second time around by simply repeating the first show.
Let it be noted that Feinstein’s has instituted a new pricing policy for headline acts, offering a limited number of seats for $40 (with no minimum). Seating will be on the sides, no doubt, but you’re never too far away in a 140-seat room. This reasonable option in what is otherwise a relatively pricey venue should allow a new crowd of fans to gain entry to one of New York’s prime jewels of cabaret.