Daniel Tatar's First Cabaret A Smash!
Daniel Tatar, Valentin in the LA Ovation-nominated Kiss of the Spider Woman from fall 2008, is a very charismatic and focused actor. In my book, great actors who can sing make the best cabaret artists. First of all, they know how to sing a song, and secondly, they usually have a natural way with handling an audience.
Think of Mandy Patinkin, who has never held back a fret or a syllable! It's all out there and the audience eats it up. Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone have all brought their personality intact to the night club setting, and the audience has adored them for it. Tatar has personality plus and an infectious sense of humor which invaded his entire 75-minute set in his cabaret debut Sunday, June 28 at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's. So, my question arises, why has he waited so long to do an act? He's a natural!
Boy Band Wannabe, he explained, emanated from his geeky 7th grade days in Chicago with his group the Four Dradles on into his college cutup days where his band was called the Extension Chords and at the present time he's preparing with a group of musicians to open a new show Life Could Be a Dream, Roger Bean's new sequel, with mostly men, to his off-Broadway hit revue The Marvelous Wonderettes.
Throughout the set we were entertained with these band recollections (Dream supplied the encore, with other cast members in attendance, lending their voices) and humorous stories of Tatar growing up Jewish, his grandma, whom he compared to Doris Roberts and her continuous tsk, tsk, tsk... and a variety of songs from shows in which he's had a tremendous success. These have included Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jason Robert Brown's stupendous Last Five Years, William Finn's poignantly beautiful Elegies, from which he sang a heartrendering "When the Earth Stopped Turning" in tribute to the passing of his second grandmother, and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
He did fun numbers from three original musicals: "Something Special" from The Golem, which he called Disney's answer to a zero turning into a hero, "Right Behind That Door" from Campaign of the Century, an actor's vibrant fantasy of making a film at MGM with Irving Thalberg and Norma Shearer - the energy here was ecstatic! - and "Never" from Darling, a very dark take on Wendy and the Darling clan from Peter Pan. During all of these songs Tatar was alive, ferociously committed and very charmingly funny.
After seeing this man in several heavy musical roles in LA, I look forward to seeing him do a lighter weight show. If Boy Band Wannabe is any example of Tatar's comedic abilities, he may very well turn out to be the next Norbert Leo Butz...or ... Matthew Broderick ... Whatever, I expect great things from him.