Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Connecticut & the Berkshires

My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra
Ivoryton Playhouse
Review by Zander Opper | Season Schedule

Also see Fred's review of Smart People


(clockwise from lower left) Vanessa Sonon,
Lauren Gire, Rick Faugno, and Josh Powell

Photo by Anne Hudson
Ivoryton Playhouse is currently presenting an extremely pleasurable evening of song called My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. With a cast of two men and two women, this show avoids the pitfalls of having anyone trying to impersonate Sinatra or his style of singing. Instead, we have four marvelously talented performers, who collectively deliver nearly sixty songs associated with Frank Sinatra. The show is superbly directed and choreographed by the husband and wife team Joyce Chittick and Rick Faugno, the latter who also appears as one of the singers in the show.

For fans of Sinatra, My Way... is delightful and it should also please lovers of iconic songs like "Strangers in the Night," "Witchcraft," and the immortal "My Way." Presented on an attractive set, designed by William Russell Stark, representing a bar setting, complete with a fine onstage band, this entertainment doesn't push too much—it simply presents a catalogue of great songs performed by four excellent singers. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy some nostalgic fun and enjoyment at My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra at Ivoryton Playhouse.

The show was created by David Grapes and Todd Olson, with Olson credited with writing the book for the show. The book, such as it is, is mostly anecdotes about Sinatra and patter in between the various medleys of songs. And while there is some amusing discussion about the various women Sinatra was involved with, as well as some juicy details of the star's life and career, it is the collection of classic tunes that truly makes this entertainment sparkle.

The evening is made up of a series of medleys of songs, with all four singers getting their chance to shine. Rick Faugno is simply great, both in his singing and his tap dancing, with especially wonderful renditions of "One for My Baby" and "New York, New York." Faugno also does a terrific challenge dance with one of the female performers, Vanessa Sonon, to "I've Got You Under My Skin," with the number nearly stopping the show. Sonon is also a standout in such songs as "I Love Paris" and "You Go to My Head," and she really pulls out all the stops in a thrilling "The Best Is Yet to Come" near the close of the show.

Lauren Gire has a rich, creamy voice, which she applies to great advantage in such classics as "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry." She also delivers a memorable "All the Way" at the close of the first act, and it must be said that both of the women in the show have an uncanny ability to make these old songs sound almost newly minted. The same goes for the fourth member of the company, Josh Powell, who does wonders with such tunes as "Makin' Whoopee" and an especially strong "Drinkin' Again." There aren't a lot of duets here, but Powell and Faugno team up splendidly in a marvelous medley of "Moonlight Serenade" and "Fly Me to the Moon." And there is one magic moment when all four singers harmonize together in a heavenly rendition of "Dream."

It's a winner of an evening all around, with quality work also provided by musical director (and pianist) Andy Hudson leading the onstage band. The costumes designed by Elizabeth Cipollina are period perfect and the lighting design by Christopher Hoyt is ideal.

Ivoryton Playhouse's production of My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra offers first-class enjoyment for fans of Frank Sinatra, as well as to lovers of some of the most beautiful songs ever written.

My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra continues performances at Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, CT through April 9, 2017. For tickets, please visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org or call the box office at 860-767-7218.


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