“Frank Sinatra’s voice, his stage presence, his whole Sinatra ‘thing,’ it was one-of-a-kind,” says director Jennifer King. “There was a time when I might not have thought Sinatra was my thing, but now, I love him. I could listen to his songs forever and never get tired of them.”
King is currently helming “My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” opening this weekend at Cinnabar Theater. Created by David Grapes and Todd Olson, the show is a musical revue featuring some of Sinatra’s best loved songs, performed by a quartet of first-rate professional singers - Rocky Blumhagen (Man Number One), Desiree Goyette-Bogas (Woman Number One), Mark Robinson (Man Number Two), Carolyn Bacon (Woman Number Two). Accompanying them is a trio of musicians led by Musical Director Cesar Cancino (former musical director of Teatro Zinzanni, on piano), Jan Martinelli (bass), and Randy Hood (drums).
“The concept of the show,” says King (best known at Cinnabar for her role in “Bad Dates,” and for directing this year’s ‘Odd Couple”), “is that the audience has stepped into this timeless Frank Sinatra-themed nightclub in Greenwich Village, this slightly surreal, weird, magical, underground place where all of Sinatra’s songs live on for all time.”
Interspersed with brief snippets and stories about the life and legacy of Sinatra are more than 30 of his songs, including “All of Me,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “It Was a Very Good Year,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” and of course, “My Way.”
“It’s been such a love fest, working with these performers, bringing these songs to life,” says King, who teaches at Napa Valley College, where she once worked on a student production of “My Way” featuring 20 performers. “I always knew this show worked best with a small group of performers, though,” she says. “Though there’s no story or character interaction, in the script, we’ve found a lot of fun ways to infuse the show with subtle little relationship “moments. The audience might not even notice them, ‘cause they’ll be listening to the songs, but they’re there.”
Those songs, she explains, are broken into “themes.”
“There’s a ‘summer songs’ theme, a ‘love songs’ theme, a ‘loser songs’ theme, all kinds of themes,” King explains. “It gives Sinatra’s songbook a bit of additional shape, and allows us to do medleys, giving snippets of the songs instead of every single word. The sense you get is being blanketed in the music of Sinatra, for one night, in this little place that is its own era.”
Asked what her own favorite Sinatra song is, King laughs.
“Can I just say all of them?” she says. “I’m not kidding. There really isn’t a song in this show that I don’t love.”
(Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org)