By Holli Harms

Tony Danza, Tony Danza, Tony Danza! His name is a song! His life, a great story! His tap dancing, his joy, and his ukulele playing, his fun! He will beautifully scat and hilariously tell jokes. Corny, funny, fun jokes. He is our Tony Danza!

He opened the evening with Bobby Darin’s “As Long As I’m Singing,” displaying in the lyrics his pleasure on stage and what he enjoys in life, singing for us, sharing with us. Tony’s  band travels with him everywhere. It is apparent with their love and respect they are showing on stage that they are a family. They are music director and pianist Joe Davidian, guitarist Dave Schupp, bassist John Arbo and drummer Ed Caccavale. They are also his back up singers harmonizing beautifully to Tony’s solid wonderful baritone vocals.

He sang the standards, Ervin Drake’s, “It Was A Very Good Year,” Michel Legrand and Norman Gimbel’s “Watch What Happens,” a song made popular by Frank Sinatra. Tony would make Frank very happy with his beautiful rendition. Asking the band to step back,  Tony picked up his ukulele and re-imagined, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s  “Love Potion No. Nine” as a slow ballad of love that completely endeared him to the audience.

Photo by Ilaria Cutolo

Tony was in the Jason Robert Brown Broadway musical Honeymoon In Vegas and he shares some of the wonderful songs from that production, the finger snapping “I Love Betsy,” a love letter to not only Betsy but to New York and all it has to offer. “Out of the Sun” was a brilliant love song and a hilarious piece about the damage of the sun to skin and life. Tony put his all into it.

He ends this magnificent evening with a medley of Motown, putting his stamp on the amazing standards, “My Girl,” “It Was Just My Imagination,” and “Tracks of My Tears.” His infectious enjoyment had us all singing along with gusto.

It was a spectacular evening at 54 Below! SPECTACULAR! Danza is a consummate entertainer! He and his band had us all snapping and swaying and smiling, not wanting it to end.

Tony Danza still has those sparkling eyes and that dazzling smile! Standing in the line for the women’s restroom at the end of the evening, all the women were commenting on how handsome he is, and how he looked right at them at some point in the evening. One woman announcing, “Right into my eyes!” I have to be honest I felt the same happened to me. Three times he looked me directly in the eyes and something was exchanged between the two of us. A celebration of the magic of music by a maestro. That’s how much of a presence he has. Oh and who was in the audience for Tony Danza? Marilyn Maye!

Tony Danza: Standards and Stories at 54 Below through June 1st. Tickets HERE

Running Time: 90 minutes

54 Below  254 West 54th NYC NY 10019