Get a kick out of 'My Way'

Liz Stephens
The University News

Nat Chandler
In a sentimental musical revue, "My Way," at the American Heartland Theatre (AHT), the stage pays tribute to Frank Sinatra's lifetime of kicks. Under the direction of Missy Koonce, Sinatra's classics unfold thematically, following his life in a melodious narrative.

Resident musical director, conductor and pianist Anthony T. Edwards' jazz combo of four backs up the singing and dancing cast, who take the audience on a journey through Sinatra's memorable tunes.

"Strangers In the Night" opens the show as pictures of Ol' Blue Eyes appear on a screen above the stage. The next numbers are upbeat songs such as "The Sunny Side of the Street" and "I've Got the World on a String," in which the whole cast partakes in Frank favorites. Choreography by Cindy Layton enhances the lyrics with gracefull dancing.

Christina Marie Norrup not only has a beautiful voice but also dance moves, especially showcased in the second act. Her tender performance of "My Funny Valentine" opens the Broadway Medley series, ending with "I Get a Kick Out of You." She comes from a background of several Broadway credits, including the original cast of "The Producers."

Nat Chandler has also been seen on Broadway in the title role of Sir Percival Blakeney in the Tony Award-nominated musical "The Scarlet Pimpernel." He and Terrence Charles Rodgers, who was last seen as Adrian in "Smokey Joe's Café," perform a tap dance duet in the first act.

The first act closes with songs thematically grouped about falling in love. During "Love and Marriage" Adams sings a humorous duet but later emotes beautifully during "That Old Black Magic." Adams returns to AHT after having last appeared as Sister Amnesia in "Nuncrackers" during the 2001 holiday season. "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "All the Way" close the first act on a high note.

Loser's Medlies appropriately open up the second act with "Drinkin' Again," as many audience members returned with cocktails from intermission. The lighting design by Shane Rowse effectively fits the nostalgic mood during "It Was a Very Good Year" by Ervin Drake.

The second act builds to the last grouping, Songs for Survivors, in which "The Best is Yet to Come," "I'm Gonna Live 'til I Die," and Rodger's performance of "That's Life" bring enthusiastic applause. As the ensemble toasts Sinatra with champagne, both "My Way" and "I'll Be Seeing You" appropriately end the journey.

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