by Sandi Durell . . .
Tony Danza is one irresistible performer with a personality that makes you want to pinch his cheeks. He’s a charmer all right. So, it’s exciting to note that he will be bringing his band and hit show, Standards & Stories, to 54 Below for a limited engagement beginning September 26 thru October 1. He’s a timeless artist who effortlessly brings wit, charm, storytelling, and a dash of soft shoe and ukulele to his act. Danza performs a selection of his favorite standards from the Great American Songbook, as well as selections from the hit Broadway musical Honeymoon in Vegas (which Danza also starred in, receiving rave reviews), while interweaving stories about his life and personal connection to the music. It’s many of those life stories that are eye-openers and filled with laughable moments.
As one of the world’s most beloved and iconic entertainers for over 40 years. Danza is best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Tony has also starred in hit films such as Angels in the Outfield, She’s Out of Control, Hollywood Knights, and Don Jon. Well established as a song and dance man, Tony has also starred on Broadway in The Producers, A View from the Bridge, and received an Emmy nomination for his guest spot on “The Practice,” having recently made a special guest appearance on “Blue Bloods.” Danza also has a much buzzed about “Who’s the Boss” sequel in the works, and just wrapped a co-starring role in the upcoming 20th Century Fox feature film, “Darby Harper Wants You To Know.”
Theater Pizzazz got to know even more about Tony Danza. Read on! And book your seats HERE
TP: Your show includes personal stories…how personal do you feel comfortable getting with an audience?
TD: When you do this kind of act, you try to make a connection with the audience. The personal and even the professional stories are an attempt to have the audience feel something in common with me. And hopefully the songs enhance that feeling. I don’t want to get too personal but I have to let the audience in.
TP: It seems that these days, anyone out there trying to promote anything, the pressure is on to overshare – like Angelina Jolie doesn’t just promote her new movie, she has to tell us some deep dark secret. What are your thoughts on this trend?
TD: My job is to entertain and nothing else.
TP: People who only know you from Taxi and Who’s The Boss might be surprised to learn how good you are on the ukulele and that it’s part of your show, what made you choose that instrument as opposed to the piano or drums, let’s say?
TD: It’s easier. And I can accompany myself. But I’m working on the piano and the trumpet.
TP: The songs you’re doing are standards and songs that you love; were there some that were more challenging vocally that you had to work harder to master?
TD: My journey singing has been a bumpy road. But it goes to show that hard work pays off. I love singing and I love singing the American songbook.
TP: As a kid growing up in New York in the 1970s, what was your earliest connection to Broadway or to theater?
TD: I had an English teacher, Mr. Messinger, and he introduced me to musical theater and Broadway. He took me to my first Broadway show, West Side Story! I don’t think I was ever the same after that.
TP: When you finally got to be on Broadway in a show like The Iceman Cometh or The Producers or Honeymoon in Vegas – – was the actual being on stage doing 8 shows a week the same experience you imagined as a kid seeing West Side Story?
TD: Doing eight shows a week can be or is daunting. But I love that. The show takes over your life especially if you’re singing. You have to be disciplined. And be part of a great team effort. It’s a great lesson about being in something bigger than yourself.
TP: With Taxi and Who’s The Boss in syndication, and all the press you got from doing Broad City, what’s it been like being discovered by younger audiences?
TD: It’s great to be relevant after all these years.
TP: You were really ahead of your time doing a talk show, The Tony Danza Show, because it seems like now audiences are dying for likable celebrity talk show hosts, (i.e. Kelly Clarkson, Drew Barrymore) – – would you consider or have you been approached to do a Tony Danza talk show redux?
TD: I loved doing my talk show but I think you only get one shot at something like that.
TP: People who come to see your show at 54 Below, or anywhere you may perform it in the future – – what do you want them to take away or feel when they leave?
TD: I want them to feel they got their money’s worth and that for the time we’re together they had some fun. Oh, and I want to surprise them with the music.
TP: What’s next on the Tony Danza agenda? Tell us more!
TD: I’m excited about a bunch of stuff. I have a movie called, Darby Harper Wants You to Know, coming out in December. I am doing a bunch of episodes of the Power Show, Raising Kanan. . . and more!