With practically every number she sings, attractive, sexy Marin Mazzie could stop a show if she were performing on a Broadway stage, where she has often been. Her husband, good looking Jason Danieley. who has also played Broadway, projects power plus an air of mischievousness. Thus with their show “He Said/She Said” at the Café Carlyle (May 10-May 21, 2011) we get a double treat. Mazzie informs us that they have been married for 14 years, and they have cleverly chosen songs that reveal a trajectory of falling for one another, nursing doubts, then getting together and so on through an entertaining program using a wealth of numbers by some of the best American Songbook writers.
Whether with their solos or close-harmony duets, Mazzie and Danieley succeed in being a consummate supper club attraction. (They also have demonstrated their togetherness in concert settings.) There is a danger in the performing of husband-and-wife combos of appearing excessively sugary. However, this couple communicates just enough affection and sexual sparks to look sincere, as if they are having fun together. Their story of personal love is reflected primarily in song, augmented with easy-going introductory patter.
A smooth opening duet “Something’s Gotta Give” (Johnny Mercer) sets a tone of readiness for something new. Mazzie lends originality to her interpretation of “Cockeyed Optimist" (Rodgers and Hammerstein). Danieley is amusing with “If I Only Had a Brain” (Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg). Mazzie sings “Something to Live For” (Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn), and Danieley comes back with “Someone to Watch Over Me” (George and Ira Gershwin).
The “He Said/She Said” motif continues, with each performer getting a chance to show off individually, and also team for duets, such as “Too Close for Comfort” (music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by George David Weiss and Larry Holofcener), “Blues in the Night” (Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer) and “Our Love Is Here to Stay” (George and Ira Gershwin).
Mazzie is especially poignant singing “Cry Me a River” (Arthur Hamilton), has fun with “The Physician” (Cole Porter) and gives a wistful, tender interpretation of “Smile” (music by Charlie Chaplin, lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons). She hits a Broadway groove with “Betwtched, Bothered and Bewildered” (Rodgers and Hart).
Danieley provides a swinging mood to “I’ve Got the World on a String” (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Ted Koehler). He does a reasonably good job with “One for My Baby” (Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer), but I think male singers should retire that one from their repertoire, as it is a challenge to compete with Frank Sinatra, whose definitive version lingers as if he were still here.
Joseph Thalken, who supplied many of the arrangements, is music director and pianist, with Peter Donovan on bass and Dave Ratrajczak on drums. In case you haven’t gotten the message, this is a smashingly entertaining, energetic and romantic show. At the Café Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue. Phone: 212-744-1600.