It is almost 30 years since the passing of one of the best known, most loved – or hated – iconic balladeers of modern times.
Tacoma Musical Playhouse brings “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” to the South Sound to pay homage to the laid-back troubadour who did just about everything His Way.
Francis Albert Sinatra, the kid from Hoboken, NJ, who made it big on Major Bowes Amateur Hour went on to sing for the bands of Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, became a teenager heart throb and inspired the term “Bobbysoxer.”
The crooner married four times to four fascinating women – Nancy Barbato for 7 years; Ava Gardner for 6; Mia Farrow for 2; and Barbara Marx (widow of Herbert [Zeppo] Marx) for 12 years, until the death of The Voice. The charismatic man with the hypnotic blue eyes had love affaires with countless others.
He drifted from radio to records; from nightclubs to screen; from stage to television. He started as the final member of the Hoboken Four and ended as the Chairman of the Board of the notorious Rat Pack.
Sinatra, a somewhat shy youth, captured the hearts of audiences in song and went on to do so on stage, nightclubs and movie screens. Ole Blue Eyes garnered countless awards including Grammies, Tony’s, Golden Globes, an Oscar and even a Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.
He owned Las Vegas and Palm Springs — and, as the somewhat winded older crooner would often say or sing, “I did it My Way!”
“My Way,” the musical history, tells in song interspersed with light facts (or fictions) of the personification of one on the greatest songsters of the 20th Century, conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson, is directed and choreographed by Jon Douglas Rake.
The tribute is played out on a set designed by Rake, Dennis Kurtz and Ely Mattson, which depicts a 1950’s upscale cocktail lounge, complete with art deco glass designs on the proscenium boarders and bar front as well as four 2-person tables surrounding the dance floor, which houses the 3-piece combo and overlooks a stunning silhouette view of the New York skyline.
Jeffrey Stvrtecky is Music Director and leads the combo on piano with Jessie Kuras on string on bass and Iris McBride on percussion.
Jocelyne Fowler does costumes, putting the ladies in 1950’s semi-formals and the men in dinner jackets with color matching shirts or cummerbunds to their ladies’ gowns. Jacob Viramontes does the lighting design. Angela Morgan is Stage Manager.
Rake has used eight of his stable of excellent singers to bring this event to fruition. The chosen cast is comprised of Nancy Herbert Bach, Jonathan Bill, Mauro Bozzo, Colin Briskey, Jessica Hanson, Allyson Jacobs-Lake, Mark Rake-Marona and Tasha Smith.
Each of these superlative singers lend their voices to solo or combined performances to tell the story of the life in the honoree’s transition from church children’s choir singer to one of the world’s most renowned performers.
Just a word of warning: These singing talents are musical comedy singers. They are not imitators neither do they attempt to sound like Frank Sinatra nor imitate his style. They only remind the audience of the songs Sinatra helped make famous and bring back to them memories of how these tunes affected the lives of so many watching, while maintaining the performers own excellent styles.
“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” continues at Tacoma Musical Playhouse at 7116 Sixth Avenue, just east of Jackson, through February 25, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees and two Saturday matinees February 17 and 24 and at 2 p.m.
For reservations or more information, call the box office at (253) 565-6867 or go online to www.tmp.org.
Seldom has a talent been able to span 50 years of performing and not only keep his original followers but gain from each succeeding generation new, life long members of his fan club.
Frank Sinatra was more than a singer, actor and producer. He was and is a legend in a career filled with legends. Simply, he had the “World on a String” and he entertained the world His Way.