Cabaret Review: DAISY EAGAN: ONE FOR MY BABY (Rockwell Table & Stage)

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by Tony Frankel on May 5, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles


With enough comic personality to rival Fanny Brice, the droll, deft, dirty, daffy, derisive, delirious, and delightful Daisy Eagan, best-known for being the youngest female Tony Winner (The Secret Garden, 1991), has created a new solo show which I caught at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles. Having already played San Stage and Cinema's Review of “‘Daisy Eagan: One for My Baby,” a cabaret at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles.Francisco, the candid, saucy, and brash entertainer will bring One for My Baby to 54 Below in New York before heading back to L.A. to play “Mae” in Stoneface starring French Stewart at the Pasadena Playhouse. Following Still Daisy After All These Years and Fuck Off, I Love You, her third show—a cabaret act—centers around Eagan’s two-year-old, Monty, including how he came to be and how he is being raised, but this is definitely not an entertainment for the kiddies. To call this brazen chick spicy is an understatement. To call her inappropriate and ferociously funny is an equally restrained description.

Single-mom Eagan makes no bones about who the father is: Kurt, who she had just broken up with when she found herself in the family way. It’s simple, she says of her discovery: “Babies come from unprotected sex the morning after seeing Liza Minnelli at the Hollywood Bowl.” Under Drew Droege’s direction, Eagan relates the stories she has written so naturally that you would swear she’s making them up on the spot.

When a female celebrity’s name comes up, Eagan smirks, “Yeah, but did she win a Tony at 11?” After which she immediately tosses to the floor, “That shit never gets old.” She holds for laughs like a pro and really knows how to throw away a line—often, her timing makes Ellen DeGeneres look like an amateur.

Stage and Cinema's Review of “‘Daisy Eagan: One for My Baby,” a cabaret at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles.Another commendable aspect is the song list: To illuminate her extraordinarily effective tales about everything from pregnancy to parenting classes to the ridiculous toys every kid must have, Eagan sings about twelve songs, most of them standards unfamiliar to modern ears. After telling us about her decision to have the baby, she croons “They Say It’s Spring,” a rarely heard Bob Haymes & Marty Clark tune recorded in 1957 by jazz singer Blossom Dearie. Later, she sandwiched a recognizable tune (“What’ll I Do?” 1923, Irving Berlin) in between two oldies that always need to be reintroduced: “As Long as I Live” (1934, Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler) and “I Wish You Love” (1942, Léo Chauliac & Charles Trenet with American lyrics added in 1957 by Albert A. Beach). I supplied the names of the writers; hopefully, Eagan will one day give credit to the songsmiths she celebrates. The band, whose names were hard to decipher over the applause, was terrific: Super-spectacular music director and pianist Brandon James Gwinn, bassist Eric McCann, violinist Caitlin, and drummer Kenny.

We had been informed that “special guest Tony Nominee Adam Pascal” was going to perform, but it seemed strange that he plugged in his guitar, gave a soulful “Joni Mitchell rendition” of “Memory” (yeah, the one from Cats), and then quickly vamoosed with “I have to get home to my own boy.”

Well, that about sums it up. Oh, except for one teensy-weensy little thing. This may be the Babar the Elephant in the room, but given that this is a cabaret act, the Tony-winner for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical demonstrates here that singing, surprisingly, is not her strong suit. Comedy is. She can hold a tune, but her voice fluctuates and can be weak. She sounds cute, childlike, nondistinctive, unsupported, and at times slightly off-key.

Stage and Cinema's Review of “‘Daisy Eagan: One for My Baby,” a cabaret at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles.This was most evident in “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road),” the 1943 Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer torch song which gives the truly uproarious act its title: Instead of being about a failed romance, Eagan found new meaning to the oft-sung lyrics by elucidating the travails of baby-rearing: Great set-up and a great song choice, but a limp rendition. After a lovingly sentimental list of advice for her son, the dreamy, calypso-flavored “Beautiful Boy” (1980 John Lennon) felt flat. Later, the lesser-known 1958 Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh standard “It Amazes Me” (also covered by Dearie) made me wonder why Eagan is presenting touching ballads and jazzy standards. A nearby patron was heard to say, “What a great act. But if she was on American Idol, I wouldn’t vote for her.”

Stage and Cinema's Review of “‘Daisy Eagan: One for My Baby,” a cabaret at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles.This is easily rectifiable: The spit-fire actress and brilliant comedienne (yes, I said “brilliant”) can certainly confine herself to tunes that don’t need a powerful voice and which sell her comedic talent, as she demonstrated with a rendition of Michael O Donoghue’s 1979 “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals,” written for Gilda Live, Radner’s Broadway outing. Even the Broadway-style vamping of “Like Someone in Love” (1944, Jimmy van Heusen & Johnny Burke), the sweetness of “Montague Harrison” (a lovely new song), and the cuteness of “A Glass of Water” (from—who knows—My Little Pony?) manage to make her vocal abilities, which are by no means atrocious, more palatable.

I have to reiterate what an amazing monologist Eagan is. This hilarious gal had me roaring out loud, and I want to see more of her. This Daisy is one of the freshest personalities in town.

Daisy Eagan: One for My Baby
Sa Sa Productions
Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles
played on April 21, 2014
for more info, visit

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