Christmas My Way – A Sinatra Holiday Bash

Troupe America
Plymouth Playhouse – Minneapolis, MN

Review By Peter Glanville
December 8, 2016

Plymouth PlayhouseWell everyone, it is that time of year again. It is the time to get out your Christmas decorations, sip on a hot cup of joe, and gather around the fireplace listening to holiday stories and festive carols. This year, you can Christmas your way and what better way to celebrate that then with Frank Sinatra's holiday stories and tunes. Christmas My Way is a play that celebrates the holiday season in swingin' style with the music of Ol' Blue Eyes. The Plymouth Playhouse Theatre pays homage to Sinatra's 100th birthday by sharing his personal renditions of your favorite Christmas songs and stories.

Dennis Curley, Dorian Chalmers, Tim Drake, Jennifer Eckes, and Ken Quiricone are all Sinatra fanatics to say the least. They all capture the swagger and charm of Frank Sinatra by sipping on his favorite drink, scotch on the rocks, and by sharing some of their own personal memories of Sinatra as if they all knew him on a very personal level. The acting was very realistic to the classic "slickster" style of the mid 1900's Rat Pack. Each actor embodied what seemed to be their own notion of what Frank Sinatra's personality was like. As an audience member, I felt throughout the play I was thrown in a time machine back into the 1950's and I was sitting in a dim lit, smoky New York club just soaking up the energy and glamour of the actors. It was a very strong period piece not only because of dated musical genres that were displayed but because of the costumes, dialogue, and the specific monologues each of the characters had. In a lot of ways, this performance drew many similarities with the play Spoon River: both were very much set in certain time periods that had strong influence on the play, both had segments of musical performances that related to the setting of the play, and both had many monologues by the characters that shared who the characters were and what their purpose was to the show. The monologues were very drawn out and very creative. It was very apparent that the director, Curt Wollan, did extensive research on Sinatra and the Rat Pack to figure out what their personalities were like so that they could match them to the characters in the show.

Overall, this play was an absolute delight to see. The accuracy and realism of the performers made the audience feel like they were part of the show and the combination of the stories with trickles of musical performance gave the audience the holiday merriness that they were looking for. I would recommend this play to anyone I know but especially to people who were alive during the time of Frank Sinatra music. Nostalgia is a very powerful thing and when it is used in the right way, it can create something that is truly remarkable.

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