February 03, 1986 12:00 PM

Mary D’Arcy must have been a beautiful baby, since she won the baby beauty contest at a local department store in Trenton, N.J. when she was 2. Clearly things haven’t changed, though D’Arcy, an ex-Miss New Jersey, has become much more than merely another gorgeous face. Along with the looks that got her noticed while still in her swaddling clothes, D’Arcy (pronounced Dee-arcy) displays a range of talents that any actress would envy. For the past six months she’s starred as ingenue Kathy Selden in the Broadway hit Singin’ in the Rain, and her flawless rendition of Would You, standing alone before an old-fashioned microphone, hushes the audience in the vast theater every performance.

The daughter of New Jersey Bell Telephone employees, D’Arcy, 30, grew up dreaming of becoming a horse trainer. Then she saw Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music; after that all she wanted to train was her voice, and her hoofing is now strictly two-footed. She’s appeared on Broadway in Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George, in commercials for Johnson’s Baby Oil and Chubs Baby Wipes, and she won the admiration of director Tommy Tune, who hired her for a tour of A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine. “We gave her the big song in the show,” says Tune. “She was wonderful, a joy to work with.”

D’Arcy and her husband of six years, pianist/conductor Karl Jurman, live two miles west of the Great White Way in Weehawken, N.J. The gifted performer wants to make more movies (she was in Cat’s Eye) and to try opera as another outlet for her lyric soprano. But the diminutive (5’3½”, 104 pounds) D’Arcy has no intention of forsaking Broadway or forgetting the man whose music made a little girl change her mind. It’s just that these days her dreams have gotten slightly more specific and a great deal more ambitious. Her secret aspiration: “I would like Mr. Sondheim to write a role for me.”

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