Highly Recommended **** What’s not to love? Theatre at the Center’s new revue, “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” is a jazzy gem of an evening. Pick your favorite Sinatra tune, I’m pretty sure they’ll be singing it. Four of Chicago’s best singers, accompanied by a three-piece combo, will have you snapping your fingers (tapping your toes is a given!). I’ve never been a Sinatra fan – I think because my mom was such a fan – but I really enjoyed “My Way”. 4 Spotlights
A cast of four, McKinley Carter, George Keating, Eric A. Lewis and Christine Mild, sing, dance and share anecdotes about ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’. They spend so much time toasting you might get thirsty. Not to worry, the Brass Tavern in the lobby is open during intermission.
The set is a multi-level club, with a bar down front, tables off to the sides, and a double staircase leading up to a small platform. The background changes color frequently. The cast spends a lot of time grouped around the bar, pouring drinks and toasting Sinatra – and each other. The musicians, Musical Director William Underwood at the Piano, Jake Saleb on Bass and Nick Anderson on Percussion, are nestled between the stairs.
The list of Sinatra’s hit songs is incredible, from his first hit, “Polka Dots and Rainbows”, in 1940, all the way to his last album, “Duets II” in 1994. “My Way” includes more than 50 of his hits, organized into themed medleys. The revue opens with his 1966 mega-hit, “Strangers in the Night”.
The medleys and some of the songs:
- Favorites – “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Sunny Side of the Street”, “I’ve Got the World on a String”, “High Hopes”
- Broadway – “My Funny Valentine”, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”, Makin’ Whoopee”, “I Get a Kick Out of You”
- Cities (my favorite) – “I Love Paris”, “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)”, “South of the Border”, “Chicago, Chicago”, “L.A. is My Lady”, “New York, New York”
- Young Love –” Let’s Get Away from It All”, “I Only Have Eyes for You”
- Summer – “Something Wonderful Happens in Summer”
- Love and Marriage – “The Tender Trap”, “Love and Marriage”, “The Lady is a Tramp”
- Love and Marriage (Part 2) – “That Old Black Magic”, “Witchcraft”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
- Lovers – “One for My Baby”, “It Was a Very Good Year”, “Here’s to the Losers”
- Big Flirt – “Young at Heart”, “You Make Me Feel So Young”
- Moon – “Moonlight Serenade”, “Fly Me to the Moon”
- Songs for Survivors (all crowd stoppers!) – “This is All I Ask”, “The Best is Yet to Come”, “I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die”, “That’s Life”
The show closes with “My Way” and a reprise of “New York, New York”. After the cast take their bows, they sing an encore, “I’ll Be Seeing You”.
In my opinion, George Keating is one of the most versatile actors in the Chicago area. I just saw George Keating singing and dancing through two parts, Prince Eric’s guardian, Grimsby, and his fish-obsessed Chef Louis, in “The Little Mermaid”, with flair. Before that, he was OCD-afflicted roommate, Felix Unger in TATC’s “The Odd Couple”. I’m glad to see he’s getting the recognition – and the parts – he deserves.
Soprano McKinley Carter is tall, slim, and elegant. Curvy Christine Mild reminds me a lot of Gloria Estefan. Both have gorgeous voices. Eric A. Lewis, who won a Jeff for Dreamgirls at Porchlight, has a rich baritone voice, and he’s a terrific dancer. The ladies get to wear gorgeous gowns straight out of the sixties, while the gentlemen wear suits/tuxedos from the same era.
“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” runs through March 19th at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster.
Running time is just short of two hours, with an intermission.
Performances are :
Fridays at 7:30 pm
Saturdays at 3:00 and 7:30 pm
Sundays at 2:30 pm; and select Thursday and Sunday evenings.
Tickets range from $40-$44. Parking is free. FYI (219) 836-3255 or www.theatreatthecenter.com.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “My Way: A Musical Tribute To Frank Sinatra”