The appetizer for Wednesday night’s Cole Porter entree was a whirlwind of treats by some of Porter’s colleagues. Conductor Keith Lockhart led the Boston Pops through a lively overture to Richard Rodgers’s “Babes in Arms” followed by a “bouquet” of Irving Berlin gems, including “Blue Skies,” “Always,” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Jerome Kern’s “Pick Yourself Up” preceded a “Gershwin in Love” platter of “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “The Man I Love,” and other jewels which transitioned beautifully from one to the other. The first act closed with Rodgers’s “The Carousel Waltz.”
At the top of Act 2’s Porter tribute, Lockhart had a memory malfunction reciting guest Marin Mazzie’s Broadway catalog (“Passion,” “Ragtime,” and “Kiss Me, Kate” among others), but got a little help from the audience. The conductor introduced Tony winner Mazzie and hubby Jason Danieley (shouldn’t this have happened after the Pops opened the act?), and the couple came and went with Danieley waving “Bye Keith” followed by Lockhart’s cute quip, “I’m just making this up as I go along.” After the Pops played “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” it was another opening for Mazzie and Danieley.
Of their dozen Porter songs, the talented couple sang four of them together. Playfulness during the opener, “From This Moment On,” showed Danieley’s skills as a ham and jokester. Then he exited. Mazzie entered for a sultry “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” She exited. Danieley entered for a beautiful, hands-in-pockets “Night and Day.” See the pattern?
They delivered an adorable “It’s De-lovely” before Mazzie exited for Danieley’s “Easy to Love.” With lyrics like “you’d be so easy to love, so easy to idolize all others above,” his wife should have stayed to punctuate Porter’s perfect phrasing.
Mazzie returned to flirt with Lockhart during “Always True to You in My Fashion,” which would have been more effective had she serenaded her husband. Danieley nailed the married guy’s lament, “Where Is the Life That Late I Led,” but his wife should have shot him a few glances from stage left and stormed off. The couple’s last song, “You’re the Top,” showed their chemistry, Danieley’s playfulness (“I get to go home with that every night”), and Mazzie’s comedic talents (Danieley sang “You’re cellophane” and she shot him a look).
Mazzie and Danieley are master interpreters of the Porter songbook, but more Mr. and Mrs. would have been “de-lovely.”June Wulff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.