Tyne Daly
Tyne Daly
During the course of her opening night performance of her new show, The Second Time Around, now at Feinstein's at Loews Regency, Tyne Daly joked about working on this show in her "dotage." Please! The ageless, Tony Award-winning star could not have been more in her nightclub prime than she is in this priceless new act, which is as classy as it is smart and sophisticated.

If Daly's image is kind of rough and tumble with a gruff sense of humor, her show delicately undercut that view, exposing a more contemplative woman. Many of her song selections dealt with time -- its loss, its value, its unrelenting march forward. She approaches her subject with good humor, a touch of melancholy, and considerable grace, expressing herself through a rich and varied selection of songs.

Many of her offerings were wonderfully and deliciously obscure, including a cute number co-written by Rudy Vallee called "Betty Co-Ed," and a grippingly graphic piece of work called "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair" that Bessie Smith once sang with emotional fervor. The fact that Daly can not just sing both of those songs -- but put them over so well -- is a testament to her extraordinary versatility.

A consummate performer with a musical theater voice capable of accents, characters, and a fundamental grit, Daly makes sure every song is fully realized as an actress. When she sings "Stardust" in French -- and who was expecting that? -- she brings so much conviction to her performance it doesn't matter that you might not know the words, because you will know the feeling she so beautifully expresses.

Daly doesn't have to do all of this on her own; she has a gifted set of musicians behind her, led by her musical director John McDaniel. Her sweet-sounding band also features Tom Hubbard on bass, Ray Marchica on percussion, Rick Heckman on woodwinds, and Peter Sacchon on cello. The level of musical support she receives is really quite impressive, but it's Daly who will most impress you.