My Way Is Classy, Brassy Fun

BRSC Sinatra Tribute Hits All The Right Notes

The Blowing Rock Stage Company opened its 17th season with a bona fide hit this week. The new David Grapes and Todd Olson production My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is everything you would want out of a night at the theatre rousing, sentimental, romantic and fun.

My Way opened last Thursday evening and runs until the end of June at the Blowing Rock Stage Company Theatre on Sunset Drive. Writers Olson and Grapes made the right choice in not going for a Sinatra impersonation. It would have been very tempting to make My Way a one-manshow with John Fredo because of his physical and vocal similarities to Sinatra. In focusing on the songs as much as the man, we understand a little about what made Sinatra such a popular singer for over four decades. He didn't write his own material, his voice was not as technically proficient as say Nat King Cole, but he had a keen ear for material and pacing.

The songs are set into medleys based on themes such as 'Young Love', 'Broadway and Film' and 'Songs for Survivors.' The medleys keep the production long on music and short on introductions. The Blowing Rock Stage Company scored a big hit by getting the same actors and same musical director for My Way after its run at the Flatrock Playhouse near Hendersonville. The cast is smooth and comfortable with the material and the music is flawless, remarkably so considering the late addition of drummer Jeff Jones and bassist Chris Barton and the complex arrangements on some of the songs. Musical director/pianist Vince di Mura, on loan from the Theatre and Dance Department at Princeton, has taken the individual songs and sewn them seamlessly into medleys.

All four actors are consummate entertainers and their singing is top notch. While Fredo is the low-voiced crooner, actor Doug Kampsen has a more traditional Broadway singing voice, very similar in tone to Mandy Patinkin. Both Ginger Newman and Kathy Weese light up the stage with their singing and dancing and beautiful outfits.

Jeff Eason - Mountain Times

Blowing Rock Cast Member,
Ginger Newman.

The Blowing Rocket says, "My Way ... WOW!"

Jerry Burns
The Blowing Rocket

I knew it would be good. It had to be with such a talented cast, great direction, a extremely talented technical staff, and, of course, the music of the Chairman of the Board.

But what happened opening night of the Blowing Rock Stage Company's 17th season of professional theatre was far more than good. It was magic, pure magic!

''It doesn't get much better than this, " said Kate Snyder, who claims to have followed live theatre from New York to California and Florida to Canada. Kate and her friends came over to Blowing Rock from Elk River to see My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.

The packed house agreed, igniting a standing ovation even before the final song had ended. Prolonged applause seemed even to take the cast off guard at times as they did well maintaining their character while at the same time acknowledging the audience enthusiasm.

My Way is theatre at its best, and if you don't have tickets yet, I wouldn't wait too long. As soon as the word gets around, the tickets remaining will be gone and you will have missed one of the best shows in the Stage Company's seventeen year history.



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