Blatt's does "OLD BLUE EYES PROUD" in "MY WAY"

Stephanie Caltagirone
Reading Eagle Correspondent, Reading, PA

It has been said that when asked how to become a successful singer, Frank Sinatra simply replied: "Sing good songs". And that is exactly what this miraculous review of Sinatra's life does, four excellent singers "singing great songs". Instead of dwelling on the much public life of Sinatra, this musical review does just what it should, concentrate on Sinatra's music.

Conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson, "My Way" recalls the style and essence of the man without a group of actors who are up there trying to impersonate "the voice". This is a very wise choice either by Grapes and Olson or director Beverly Blatt. While all four actors invoke the spirit and style of the music, thankfully we are not subjected to two hours of "Vegas style" bad impersonations.

The beauty and charm in this production lay not only in the actor's hands, but the elegant, stylish set, costumes and just overall class that this production gives. The format is simplistic: sing as many Sinatra tunes as possible in a medley format (56 songs in all, not all sung in their entirety), interspersed with amusing facts and antidotes about Sinatra's life.

Steve Hesson, Suzanne Marie Ogden, Bryon Thomas Smith, and Lindsay Terrizzi are the super talented quartet of singers given the difficult task of reprising Sinatra's hits (and some non-hits), fronting an onstage trio of musicians led by musical director Hampton King.

There are many highlights in the show and very few low ones. A few highlights include: Ogden's moving and lovely rendition of "My Funny Valentine" and "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry", Smith's rousing "Gonna Live until I Die", and sucker that I am I must confess there were a few tears in my eye when all four singers performed "It Was A Very Good Year", and the finale, "My Way".

But it is Steve Hesson who was by far the most successful in duplicating the style and "coolness" of Sinatra. His leads on "The Lady Is A Tramp", "Fly Me To The Moon", and the show stopping "That's Life" had the audience on it's feet. But the overall highlight of his performance comes with his remarkable rendition of "One For My Baby". Yes, I know you

have heard the song a million times, but never like this. Hesson puts his heart, guts and soul into this number, and other than "old blue eyes" himself, I have never been heard a better rendition. To hear Hesson perform this and "That's Life" are worth the price of admission alone.

The overall product is nothing short of splendid and could be the best production Blatt's has done in it's five year history. My advice, order your tickets today.

"My Way: A Musical Tribute To Frank Sinatra" runs through April 6th at Blatt's, 600 Noble St. Kutztown.

Blatt's does it the "RIGHT WAY" with "MY WAY"

Glenn Baguinon
Kutztown Patriot Intern

Frank Sinatra, the Voice, or old blue eyes as he has been called has been crushing hearts and telling stories of love to the starry-eyed for decades. His songs, catalogued at over 1,000, express every feeling and emotion man has ever known. From sadness to triumph and pure imagination, Frank Sinatra sang it all. It’s this type of versatility that makes people relate and fall in love with and to his songs.

He expressed the lives of those who had high hopes traveling to Chicago, New York, NY or south of the border, falling in love and marriage, and making whoopee with strangers in the night to moonlight serenades. His influence in the industry inspired many performances in his honor. Blatt’s Dinner Theatre, Kutztown, is showing a tribute to the Voice in a song and dance musical called “My Way”, which opened Feb.7.

The theatre practically becomes the home of the four actors and actresses in the production. And even when they went home, their lives were consumed with Sinatra. At the first show, in the front row sat a couple, Lloyd and Jean Cooper of Crumsfield, who were celebrating their anniversary. She and her husband had been married for 55 years and were surprised by a bouquet of flowers before the start of the show. “We loved it,” Jean proclaimed at the end of the performance which resulted in a standing ovation.

The four attractive and talented cast members include: Steve Hesson, Suzanne Marie Ogden, Bryon Thomas Smith, and Lindsay Terrizzi. While all are excellent, some show stopping highlights include the young couple’s cute take on “Love and Marriage”, Ogden’s vampy “LA Is My Lady”, Smith’s “Makin Whopee”, and the night’s show stopping rendition of “That’s Life” and “Fly Me To The Moon”, both performed by Hesson.

My Way: A Musical Tribute To Frank Sinatra was written by David Grapes and Todd Olson. It was directed by Artistic Director Beverly Blatt and played and conducted by Hampton King of Clearwater, FL, who is backed by stand up bass and drums. The production runs through April 13. To order tickets call 1-877-866-1700.

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