Tatar on the Top
Actor-singer Daniel Tatar, a native of suburban Chicago, has made impressive career strides in multiple mediums and is clearly on a fast-track to greater things. Among his notable stage accomplishments since he settled in Los Angeles have been stellar performances in leading roles in high-profile musicals such as Ray Charles Live!, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Last Five Years, produced by some of the Southland's finest companies.
Those who caught Tatar's terrific showcase at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's in Studio City, on June 28, must have had a hard time believing he was making his solo cabaret debut. He seemed perfectly at home in the genre--as if he was born for it--and he wowed the capacity crowd with his relaxed and captivating presence, but above all, for his incomparable way with a song. The splendid musical evening was enhanced by the fine efforts of Marc Macalintal on piano.
Tagging the evening, "Boy Band Wannabe," Tatar started the show off with amusing anecdotes about his early career foray at age 12 as a member of the Four Dreidels. The boy-band theme was to pay off in a surprise treat at the end of the show. Alternating banter ---about his adoring family, his myriad adventures on the stage, and other personal tidbits--with a dozen wide-ranging songs, Tatar showed a great knack for acting out songs as much as singing them. With classics such as "Tonight" (from West Side Story) and "Heaven on Their Minds" (from Jesus Christ Supestar) sharing the roster with lesser-known, but no less satisfying numbers, such as "Marta/Over the Wall" (from Kiss of the Spider Woman) and great songs from some works-in-progress, Tatar showed off his versatile and powerful vocal instrument to great advantage.
The encore number--which brought the show's boy-band theme full circle--was a sensational excerpt from the new musical, Life Could Be a Dream, from red-hot writer-director Roger Bean (The Marvelous Wonderettes). It premieres at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood in August. On hand to help Tatar celebrate his debut, by singing the title song from Dream, were his talented co-stars in the new project, Caitlin Beitel, Doug Carpenter, Justin Michael Duval, and Jim Holdridge, as well as musical director Michael Pasternosto, leading the performers, a capella. David Elzer, of the show's producing team, also was there for the festivities. Sterling's is among the top entertainment offerings in the area and the evening spent in the company of this gifted performer was among the best yet. Here's hoping Tatar makes a return visit soon.