K72A7000.CR2On a quiet Sunday night before Thanksgiving, Mary Steenburgen took the stage at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz and performed a few of her own tunes.

The songwriter, singer and actress was a smash. She sang the teasing “Cup of Trouble”, a song  she co-wrote for the Last Vegas soundtrack, a playful duet with pianist John Proulx about a first date – and he is a fine singer – and a romantic ballad she dedicated to her husband, Ted Danson (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation). She has as charming a stage presence as her popular and accessible screen persona suggests. The engagement matched the record release party (for the Last Vegas soundtrack) and she dressed for the occasion in a glimmering gold dress that hugs her slender figure.

I know from our recent interview (read it here) that Ms. Steenburgen is making a career transition – we discussed the prospect of a solo album debut – and this week she proved she’s making it smoothly, with friendly support from top-caliber talent Last Vegas director Jon Turteltaub, Laura Dern and a network of fellow artists, staff and crew. The elegant and understated performance was a hit with Vibrato’s discriminating audience. I congratulated her after the gig and told her I look forward to another engagement. Mary Steenburgen’s got the nerve to get up and sing what she’s written and another quality that’s rare in Hollywood, too: a sense of herself. Her solo vocal live performance debut – plus a bit on the accordion – ushered in some early and welcome Christmas cheer.