Oscar the mini-schnauzer may be the only one in the world who grows a bit melancholy when smooth Broadway tenor Jason Danieley begins to sing.
“When I really begin vocalizing (at home) while preparing for a show, he does get a little sad,” said Danieley, speaking on his day off while relaxing in the Berkshires of Massachusetts away from the current New York hit, “Chicago,” in which he plays charismatic attorney Billy Flynn. “He’s my little pal. He knows that I’m either going away for at least a few hours or he knows I’m going away for a big tour and trip.”
Danieley arrives next week in Columbus for “Romantic Notions,” his May 5 Cabaret at The Commons show that won raves in the fall during a run at New York’s famed 54 Below. Yet, the performer is careful to mention that this adjusted set list and tour is with only his music director/pianist “who can make the keyboard sound like a full orchestra.”
Ticket sales thus far have been strong for the performer The New York Times has labeled “the most exquisite tenor on Broadway,” said Katelyn Phillips, marketing director for the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic that coordinates the series.
Tunes will include material from the Great American Songbook, plus more obscure songs such as John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “Sara Lee,” a Marc Blitzstein number, “I Wish It So,” along with Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett numbers.
He laughed when asked if Broadway star wife Marin Mazzie would consider him a romantic.
“I stress in the show that it’s not just the flowers and chocolates that make you a romantic,” he said. “I also think there is a bit of fatalist romantic in me that comes from my Irish side and the idea of pining for love that can be just out of reach.”
He and his spouse entertain advice from each other on a variety of business and arts matters. And he promises to at least hint at the pair’s adversity during his wife’s recent ovarian cancer battle that has ended in an all-clear diagnosis.
“It was a difficult year that ultimately brought us closer together and in a much deeper way,” he said.
His Broadway appearances include “Next To Normal,” with Mazzie; “Curtains”; “The Visit”; and “The Full Monty,” in which he played Malcolm — and bared more than his soul once when a closing-show lighting cue meant to carefully shadow and darken the uncovered male leads accidentally spotlit them instead.
The former defensive captain of his St. Louis high school football team is enough of a fitness fanatic that he runs regularly, sometimes peeling off an 11-mile jog to beat stress. He left football on the sidelines when his boisterous on-the-field exhortations for teammates often left him with no voice for the stage days later. Plus, he bikes the six-mile round trip from his New York City home to the theater, pedaling along the cycling path alongside the Hudson River. During the winter and spring, he wears enough gear, including a ninja-like mask to fight the late-night chill, that he travels quietly unrecognized.
“No even notices me at all,” he said.
Sharon Sung Andrews, a Cabaret at The Commons committee member, has long noticed Danieley’s voice. His rendition of “You Walk With Me” from “The Full Monty” moves her emotionally, reminding her that the tune was a central part of a college friend’s funeral several years ago.
“There’s just something very, very peaceful, and very relate-able, about his voice,” Andrews said.
Who: Broadway tenor Jason Danieley in his Cabaret at The Commons show, “Romantic Notions,” including an array of Broadway and other tunes.
When: 7:30 p.m. May 5.
Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus.
Food and drink: Available.
Tickets: $15, $30 and $50, available at 812-376-2638 or thecip.org.