Arlington — Music revues don’t tell a story; they survey. In the case of My Way, A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra at Theatre Arlington, it's a survey of the music of the legendary singer Frank Sinatra. Performing 58 songs in two hours is an impressive feat. Leading the journey Saturday night was a quartet of talented singers. They interspersed the proceedings with stories about Ol’ Blue Eyes while sipping on mock cocktails in a staged nightclub. Backed by a capable jazz combo they entertained the half capacity audience with medleys from throughout the career of Frank Sinatra.
Directed by Dennis Yslas, the show groups songs around topics like Love and Marriage (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Witchcraft,” and of course “Love and Marriage”); Cities (:My Kind of Town (Chicago is),” “How About You?,” and of course “New York, New York”); and Songs for Survivors (“The Best is Yet to Come,” “That’s Life,” and “My Way,” natch).
Arlington native Graham Galloway was a standout with her big personality and even bigger voice. Jeff Wells made a solid leading man with his vocal command, comic timing and smile. Jonathan Hardin’s dance steps and comic foil were delightful. Shannah Rae sang the most magnetic treatment of the evening on “My Funny Valentine.” In interpretation, The Chairman of the Board always put the meaning of the text first. More than just selling the song, Rae brought the audience into the heart of the song. That is true tribute.
The ensemble had tight vocal harmonies, and consistent energy that provided laughs and chills. The window-dressing choreography visually linked the medleys together, however some tempi transitions felt like speedbumps.
The orientation of the stage and seats at Theatre Arlington is immediate but not cramped. The sound was crystal clear. The pianist and Music Director Jonathan Kennedy needed a page turner, the bassist Joe Feldstein needed sustain, but the drummer Reyes Sanchez, who held a steady groove, went mostly unnoticed—which for a drummer is a great thing.
Ending the evening with the singers imbibing actual champagne was appropriate to the crooner who enjoyed a drink. During Frank’s rat pack days he would say, “I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
As a whole the tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra was charming and comprehensive, covering his swagger, movie career, womanizing, and eternal influence. Sinatra’s “force of nature” ambition was the only thing lacking in the book and score by David Grapes and Todd Olson.