Before Broadway favorite Jason Danieley returns to the stage as slick lawyer Billy Flynn in the record-breaking Chicago revival, he's singing the sweetest of love songs at Feinstein's/54 Below. Danieley debuts his new show Romantic NotionsOctober 2-5, and by the sounds of it you'll fall in love with both him and the show. BroadwayBox caught up with the actor and recording artist to talk about five songs that will get you in the mood for Romantic Notions.
A good primer for my show is “Time After Time”. I like the lyrics “Time after time I tell myself that I’m so lucky to be loving you” because it's a good reminder to be aware how lucky you are to love someone and be loved.
There’s a Boston tune from the ‘80s called “To Be a Man”, and I’m doing that because, as my father taught me, to be a man doesn't mean you have to be a macho meathead who’s always right. You need to be able to listen, care, know that you can be wrong, and give and not receive. That's a good primer for the guys coming— be open; it’s going to be sensitive.
I’m giving away the encore, but Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love” because the power of love is quite a strong thing—it makes one man weep and another man sing. And I like this one because Romantic Notions is not just an evening of romantic, sappy songs—we’re going to celebrate love.
I actually open with “Nature Boy” and I think it’s great because it puts romance in the mythical context, and I address that throughout the show. I’m Irish—I’m not the fiery Latin lover or the exquisite French lover—the Irish are tormented by love. They are looking and looking for it—sure they’ll never find it—and when they do, it's the most beautiful thing that has ever come across their life. “Nature Boy” is about a wise man whose wisest piece of advice is to love and be loved in return.
To continue with that Irish theme is a song by Marc Blitzstein called “I Wish It So”. I put it in the context of me being 11 years old and singing myself to bed (much to the chagrin of my parents and younger sisters), and if I had known this song, I would have sang it. It’s about not knowing what’s going on inside of you—this hunger that's deep inside—this pining that's driving you.
See Jason Danieley in 'Romantic Notions' at Feinstein's/54 Below October 2-5, and then see him star as Billy Flynn in 'Chicago' beginning October 13.