Book by Todd Olson
Directed by Fred Anzevino
Music Direction by Jeremy Ramey
Choreographed by Maggie Portman
Produced by Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater
At No Exit Cafe, Chicago
Sophistication: Modern definitions include quality of refinement — displaying good taste, wisdom and subtlety rather than crudeness, stupidity and vulgarity. In the perception of social class, sophistication can link with concepts such as status, privilege and superiority.
A most sophisticated musical revue of Frank Sinatra’s songs and a PhD lesson in lyric writing.
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre has a long tradition of mounting terrific musical revues and their present My Way…A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is among their best. With a terrific jazz-oriented rhythm section featuring Jeremy Ramey on piano, with Kevin Brown on drums, and Jake Saleh on bass, Sinatra’s song book was smooth, rhythmic, and toe-tapping.
The concept here was not to have a Sinatra imitator, but to have four talented performers sing dozens of tunes that Sinatra made famous. Kyrie Anderson, Catilin Boho, Christopher Logan, and Carl Herzog combined his solos, duets, and foursomes to do justice to Frank Sinatra’s style without anyone trying to impersonate “Ol Blue Eyes.” The result is a slick, polished, and sophisticated evening of many of the finest songs of the last half of the 2oth century. Song writers like Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Cy Coleman were favored by Frank Sinatra, who possessed a knack for finding wonderfully fine songs with fabulous lyrics. (Personal note: Growing with Frank Sinatra records, as my mother and uncle loved Sinatra, I enjoyed his songs, his style, and his sophisticated arrangements. Only recently did I realize the Sinatra delivery and articulation taught me to especially appreciate smartly clever lyrics. Thanks Frank!)
Each performer had their moments to excel. I especially like the singing of Carl Herzog, who came close to Frank Sinatra’s voice and smooth style, without imitating him. Chris Logan richly presented Sinatra’s tunes while capturing their meanings.
Of course, the revue’s strength is in the music that Sinatra meticulously selected and spent much effort in making each his own. With toe-tapping tunes like “Chicago,” “New York, New York,” “High Hopes,” and “The Lady is a Tramp,” as well as melancholy torch-songs music such as “One For My Baby,” “Strangers in the Night,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “That Old Black Magic,” we enjoy the smart lyrics that were so nicely articulated by this talented cast.
My Way…A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is a “must see” for Sinatra fans (like me); it is also a treasure for those who enjoy and cherish sophisticated lyrics delivered effectively by a terrific combo and four fine singers. It is also a fine way to expose youngsters to the rich talent of Frank Sinatra and his stable of song writers. Theo Ubique Cabaret’s intimate venue is a wonderful place to enjoy fabulous music. Director Fred Anzevino sure has revues that deliver! My Way…A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra my be his best revue to date – it surely is his most sophisticated. It is fine holiday entertainment.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: December 5, 2015
For more info checkout the My Way…A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra page at theatreinchicago.com
At No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL, www.theo-u.com, tickets $29 – $34 with dinner option for another $25, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm,running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission, through January 10, 2016