Forgetting that she won a Tony as Mama Rose in the 1989 revival of "Gypsy," they don't think of Daly as a singer. To most fans, she'll always be Det. Mary Beth Lacey of TV's "Cagney & Lacey," a role that won her four Emmys.
Daly, who made her cabaret debut two years ago at Feinstein's in Manhattan, brings her new act to Tilles Center tomorrow night. By phone from Ocean City, Md., she describes how this new phase of her career came about.
"Michael [Feinstein] called me out of the blue. 'Tyne, why don't you come play in my room?' I wasn't sure at first what he was talking about." Daly laughs heartily, as she does often. "I sing a song from every decade of the last century, plus the first of this one." She dropped some names: George M. Cohan, Rudy Vallee, Jule Styne, Randy Newman.
PLAYING THE DIVA Between cabaret tours, Daly found time to take on the role of Maria Callas in "Master Class," part of the acclaimed Kennedy Center presentation of three Terrence McNally plays. The revival of 1996's Tony winner for best play begins previews May 24 at the Manhattan Theatre Club, with Daly reprising her role as the imperious soprano. It's her first Broadway appearance since she starred in the Pulitzer winner "Rabbit Hole" in 2006.
The Callas role came about the same way as Daly's cabaret gig -- out of the blue. McNally called her while she was sitting around the pool on Fourth of July weekend. Daly's first call was to her big sister. "I said, 'Jean, is this OK?' " Jean, short for Pegeen, was the singer in the show-biz Daly family when they were growing up. She studied opera. "So I became an actor," Daly recalls, following in the footsteps of her father, James.
Pegeen gave Tyne her blessing.
LAST CHANCE After Tilles and a New Jersey stop, Daly begins rehearsals for "Master Class." So this is among the final opportunities in a while for audiences to see Tyne Daly, cabaret star. "I wrote this act," she says. "The snappy patter between songs." She laughs again. "It's one thing if they don't like you in a play," Daly says. "But if they don't like you in cabaret, that means they don't like you."
But with a laugh like hers, there's not much chance of that.
WHAT Tyne Daly brings her cabaret act to Long Island.
INFO $52 (7:30) and $42 (9:30); tillescenter.org, 516-299-3100