Toni Toni Toni!

Toni Tennille

Toni Tennille has several notable distinctions, thanks to her long and varied career. She’s won a Grammy with her husband, Daryl “The Captain” Dragon. She’s received critical praise for her performance in the national tour of Victor/Victoria. She is one of the area’s most famous residents (she’s a RN&R reader who lives in Washoe Valley). And she may be the only woman on the planet identified with both symphonies and, um, muskrats. She’ll be performing at 8 p.m. Sept. 15 in An Evening With Toni Tennille, a fund-raiser for Nevada Opera, at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. It should be noted that the RN&R is sponsoring the event, because we think opera is really cool.

How the heck is The Captain?

The Captain’s doing great. He will make an appearance on-stage at the concert. This is a not-so-secret secret. We’ll be doing three Captain & Tennille tunes. He’s going to have to wear a tuxedo, which he is resisting.

He doesn’t like wearing a tuxedo?

No. He thinks they’re too confining.

What else will the show include?

I am going to do the first half of the show. There will be 65 or 70 minutes of the American symphony standards that I’ve been doing since 1984. There will be a 72-piece orchestra. Most of the players are from the Reno Philharmonic.


And after the intermission, [Nevada Opera Artistic Director] Robin Stamper will perform. He’s going to play George Gershwin’s “Piano Concerto in F” with the orchestra. There will be a couple of encores, and then I’ll come back with Daryl. That’s when the show goes to hell, because you don’t know what he’s going to do, especially since he’ll be in a tuxedo. We’ll perform “Muskrat Love” with the full orchestra, along with “Do That to Me One More Time” and “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

I HAVE to see that. What is so special about muskrat love, anyway?

I have no idea, and I don’t know why people are so polarized about this tune. People either love it, or they loathe it. I didn’t write that song; Willis Alan Ramsey did. He’s from Texas and writes for Lyle Lovett, so you know he’s kind of quirky.

You’ve got a new CD of love songs, Incurably Romantic, which was just released.

Yeah, I do. It started in 1995, when I was on some shows hosted by Larry King on CNN. It was a salute to great songwriters. There were two or three singers singing with just piano accompaniment. I was struck by how elegant it was to present the songs in that way. … I decided I wanted to do something quiet and romantic, exploring the various phases of [romance]. I wanted it all to be quiet, calm and intimate, so a person would feel like I’m singing in the room with them. … But my next album will be all blue [sad] songs.