Remember 1960s starlet Joey Heatherton, a favorite TV guest of Dean Martin? Even if you don’t, you’ll appreciate the antics of Heatherton’s (fictional) niece Tawny, a ditzy blonde bombshell chanteuse created and portrayed by Obie Award winner David Drake. Tawny is headed back to NYC on January 12 in a new cabaret show, Tawny Tell Me True, at off-Broadway’s Laurie Beechman Theatre. Drake—in character as his eccentric female alter ego—recently shared Ms. Heatherton’s old-school musical obsessions with Broadway.com.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
Well, my aunt Joey was always blasting Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat?” on the hi-fi. But in my room, my little close-and-play was stuck on The Carpenters’ “Sing.”
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
Seeing Mitzi Gaynor when I was seven years old at the Westbury Music Fair is burned in my memory.
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
"Yesterday Is All Day Long Today." It's the flip-side to Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A”! She introduced it to me when we worked together on that very final season of Hee Haw. I was, you know, a "Honey."
What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
All roads lead to Gypsy!
If you could invite any performer onstage for a duet, who would it be?
Oh, to sing the classic Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton song “We Got Tonight” with Stephen Colbert would make me flip! (He sings, you know.)
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you could collaborate with?
Since I saw her in Chicago as a kid, and was mesmerized by her image on the album cover of Sweet Charity, Gwen Verdon!
What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
Paul Abdul’s Forever Your Girl.
What’s your favorite love song?
As a Long Island girl, my heart pours for Billy Joel. So it’s ALWAYS “I Love You Just the Way You Are.”
What’s the best hidden gem in on your iPod?
Bobbie Gentry’s “Fancy.”
Favorite break-up song?
Chet Baker’s “But Not For Me.”
What song most makes you smile?
Blondie’s “Rapture.” When Debbie Harry raps, what else can you do but smile?
When this song plays, I can’t help but dance:
Golly, I can do my thingy to just about anything. But when the B-52s’ “Love Shack” comes on, all controls are off.