Methacton Community Theater opened its latest offering, My Way – A Tribute to Frank Sinatra May 14th at the theater at Shannondell. My Way has 8 singers, accompanied by piano and string bass, do a number of medleys of Sinatra’s songs. The stage is set up as a 1940’s era nightclub, and is visually very beautiful. The cast is dressed in formal wear, adding to the elegant style of the production.
Added to the above cast is the bartender (Rob Patey), who acts as stage manager/emcee. He introduces the cast members, prepares the stage for the show, and adds in some anecdotes from Sinatra and his contemporaries. He gives a properly understated performance, not once stealing the spotlight from the singers.
The singing cast includes Jaime Ciabottoni, Kathryn Pomon, Lisa Rawus, Rebecca Shoemaker, John Corkum, David Cox, Erik Enters and Michael McGeehan. The voices are beautiful, blend very well, and all show great familiarity with the material. Special kudos to McGeehan, who thrives in the light-jazz style of the 1940’s era Sinatra music. Pomon shows great versatility in her song stylings as well, as well as a feel for the emotion of the songs.
The problem with most musical revues is that it’s difficult to have a show not sound like “…and then I wrote…” This production manages to avoid that pitfall fairly well, with some interplay among the actors, and stories were told between the medleys that helped move from one to another without any awkward transitions. The cast works very well together in this way…they seem to genuinely like each other, and the interplay among them is fun to watch.
Another issue with revues is that sometimes performers are given songs that aren’t in their style. That happens here, but only rarely…the cast is versatile enough that they seem comfortable with whatever song they’re performing.
There were some problems at this performance. It appeared at times that the singers couldn’t hear the piano/bass, and they were not together. There were a couple instances where I wasn’t sure the piano was playing the same song that the singer was singing. To their credit, the performers kept going, showed no indecision, and they got back together. And, there were a couple occasions where the choreography was very rough and under-rehearsed.
There were some unfortunate technical glitches during this performance that I am confident will be cleaned up by the time you see this. The sound mixing took too long to get levels on the production numbers, which was a shame because the harmonies that I did hear were beautiful…I wanted to hear it all.
Overall this was a very enjoyable evening. The cast is very talented, the set beautiful, the music all Sinatra. I came away from this performance more impressed with the talents of Ole Blue-Eyes than ever.
by David Grapes and Ted Olson
Directed by Jeanette Patey
May 14 – 23, 2010
Methacton Community Theater
at Shannondell Performing Arts Center Theater
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