'My ,Way' , takes listeners back to golden era of Sinatra magic.

Claire Houser-Dodd
Special to the Telegraph

"My Way - A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra," playing now at the Macon Little Theatre, is nothing if not top-hat entertainment.

Jerry Mittelhauser, the director and choreographer, does it his way, which is always spectacular, and the music director, Carol Strandburg, does it her way, which is always superb.

"My Way," a play in two acts created by David Grapes and Todd Olson, premiered at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre in Nashville, Tenn., nearly three years ago. This is the Macon premiere.

The stage set is a dramatic blue and white, replete with steps, a grand, piano, band instruments, and a talented cast that is magically lighted with bewitching pastel colors reminiscent of The Follies in New York and The Lido in Paris. Matthew Gross is the guest light designer and Andy Douglas is technical director.

A lovely showcase is set up in the lobby chock full of Sinatra memorabilia. Billy Dodd was responsible for gathering a good deal of the CDs, record covers and books to commemorate his memories of Sinatra.

Live music on stage is a fantastic plus for this show. Alice Ridgeway plays piano, Jason Crowe, bass, and Kenny Wallace is on the drums. Fifty- seven songs are played and sung by Phil Ballard, Mark Strandburg, Lisa Becker and Katy Thompson.

This is sophisticated entertainment with music from New York to Chicago, San Francisco and Paris. The men are dressed handsomely in dinner jackets and tuxedos, while the ladies are elegantly attired and glamorous as in the '40s and '50s.

This is a beautiful tribute to Old Blue Eyes, which takes him from a poor boy in Hoboken, NJ, to the big time. It depicts the radio shows, the television, his tours all over the world and winning an Oscar for his acting.

This is a marvelous show, one you don't want to miss, particularly if you don't know much about Sinatra and want I to know more.

The Sinatra era, which we were privileged to live in, was full of fun, songs, gags, the Rat Pack, hobnobbing with presidents and stars, a dribble of gambling and gangsters -- an exciting time. And yes, Frank did it his way. How else could he do it? His was a charmed life full of champagne and bubbles and Ava Gardner, the love of his life. His toast to doing it his way was "May you live to be 100 and the last voice you hear be mine." The master may be gone, but the voice will forever.


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