Taylor Dayne Hits Broadway -- The pop singer is slated to star in the revival of ''Funny Girl''

By Michael Musto
August 06, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

”I don’t know what my image is,” admits pop singer Taylor Dayne. ”When I came out with my first album in 1987, it was New York City, sort of freaky looking, dance-oriented, and very in your face. But that’s changed, along with my own persona.”

We were wondering exactly how, but Dayne herself is not sure, saying, ”Image is what you guys come up with.” All right, then, we’d venture that the 31-year-old Dayne is still louder and funkier than Mariah Carey, younger than Tina Turner, and hairier than Sinéad O’Connor, though she has traded in the dreaded hair extensions of ’87 for a more refined, personal trainer-friendly glamour. Has that stumped your typical Dayne fan? ”I’m rarely recognized because I’m so chameleonlike,” says Dayne. ”Some days I look 12 and some days 49. But on those days when I put the mascara and the lips on, I’m definitely Taylor Dayne!”

Fortunately for Dayne, her talent for recording hit singles (”Tell It to My Heart,” ”I’ll Always Love You”) has been more important than any old image. And Soul Dancing, her third album and first in three years, will most likely add to the Long Island-born singer’s hit parade. ”I dabbled with rock on my last album,” says Dayne, who expects to tour in October. ”But I’m back to R&B. I’m back to being a dance diva.”

And just as we’re about to pigeonhole that image once and for all, Dayne mentions her next project — the starring role in a proposed Broadway revival of Funny Girl, the very part that made Barbra Streisand a star in 1964. ”Me and Jule [Styne, Funny Girl‘s composer] have been working on and off the last six months,” says Dayne, who auditioned for him at the recommendation of a mutual friend. ”He’d never heard of me. He’s a tough cookie and a tough audience.” A few belts of Irving Berlin’s ”Supper Time,” however, and they’re a mutual admiration society. ”He knows about Barbra’s charisma,” says Dayne, ”and he seems to think I have the same within me. If nothing else, we’re both Jewish girls from New York City.”

How scary is it trying to fill such legendary shoes? ”Very,” admits Dayne. ”But inspiring, too. Look at it this way. Streisand could have been stereotyped as strictly Broadway, but she used the part of Fanny Brice to get into movies, first as an actress and then as a director. I’d like to use the role to take me to different places too.”