March 10, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 83  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

My Way: a swanky Sinatra tribute

My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra
Starring: Thom Allison, John Devorski, Kate Hennig, Sharron Matthews
Directed by: Bruce Dow

By Lori Mastronardi
Gazette Staff

Grand Theatre 2004
FRANK, WE GET A KICK OUT OF YOU. Vocally charged cast members Thom Allison and John Devorski raise their hats to Sinatra while performing the classic “That’s Life.”

Do you have 192 hours to spare? If so, you have just enough time to hear every Frank Sinatra song.

However, if you simply prefer a taste of Sinatra’s greatest work, The Grand Theatre’s current production, My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra offers samples from 56 classics, ranging from “Moonlight Serenade” to “Makin’ Whoopee.”

The curtains part to reveal four mannequin-like figures positioned atop a set of stairs. A quartet of musicians begin to play the familiar chords of “Strangers in the Night,” bringing the characters to life. The small, powerful cast in turn proceeds to bring a unique sense of life to each Sinatra song.

Though the song and dance routines are reminiscent of The Lawrence Welk Show, My Way provides entertainment for young and old alike. “I Get a Kick Out of You” offers sexual tension laced with humour, while “That’s Life” includes a perfectly choreographed dance routine, complete with the essential black hat.

With dim lights and projections of stars scattered through the sky, John Devorski, although at times appearing mechanical in movement, sang an extremely effective version of “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Standing perfectly still, Devorski looked straight at the audience, evoking a hush over the crowd.

Thom Allison, however, was the crowd pleaser. His smooth, yet commanding voice projected throughout the theatre. He also paid attention to individual audience members; sitting on the edge of the stage, singing Sinatra’s lovely lyrics to an adoring audience member.

As for the female part of the cast, Kate Hennig was the crowd favourite — she embodied an old-time classic voice, while her impressive pitch complemented the males’ vocals. Sharron Matthews’ sweet, high vocals definitely added contrast to the group, but her sound seemed more suitable for a children’s production.

Reminiscent of classic 1950s style, the costumes were simple, yet elegant. The men wore sharp black tuxedos, while the women modelled black dresses, enhanced by sparkling shawls and strappy stiletto heels.

Lighting paralleled the mood of each song to create the ideal atmosphere. “Chicago Chicago” was reflected through bright lighting, with images of city buildings projected onto the backdrop. The slow, romantic track “L.A. is My Lady” set the mood through dim lighting, eliminating the chance of distraction by focusing simply on the vocalist.

Sinatra had a successful career as one of the most important men in music. He could sing 16 bars of notes in one breath. His secret to success was to simply “sing great songs.”

The Grand Theatre will be showcasing My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra until Sunday, Mar. 28. For further information call 672-2620, or visit www.grandtheatre.com.

 

 

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