Sinatra Four Ways in Roxy Revue

ClarksvilleNow.com
By Karen Parr-Moody

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Fans adore their favorites with a certain fervor, but few rank as high in the pantheon of stars as Frank Sinatra, whom the Roxy Regional Theatre pays homage from February 7 to March 1 in My Way: A Musical Tribute. In this revue, two women (Allie McCaw and Morgan Billings) and two men (Michael Spaziani and Ryan Bowie) set their pipes to more than four dozen tunes from the catalog of 1,400 crooned by Ol' Blue Eyes during his prolific career.

For this production the stage has been recreated into a vintage nightclub setting in which the four singers croon in front of a piano played by Tom Thayer, who is also the musical's director. They take on recognizable, and a few obscure, tunes including "Love and Marriage, "Strangers in the Night," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "That Old Black Magic," "Fly Me to the Moon," "The Lady Is A Tramp," "New York, New York" and, naturally, "My Way."

Between songs, the actors carry on a banter which, includes factoids about Sinatra's much-lived life, from how he had his pants tailored to how he liked his drinks. But of course, it is the music that audiences will love.

Each actor brings a facet of Sinatra – and God knows the man had many – out in his or her vocal style. McCaw has the larger-than-life quality of an opera singer, with her sultry presence and command of the stage. Her voice can be both powerful and sweet, a lovely combination. And she has that unique quality of being able to both strut confidently and slink coyly.

Spaziani, who hit the high water mark when he played Jay Gatsby in the Roxy's "The Great Gatsby," imbues his songs with the delicate romance that Sinatra possessed in his Dorsey days, before he formed something called The Rat Pack and the rest was history.

Speaking of The Rat Pack, that is Bowie's territory. While his voice can at times be heartfelt and somber, he is the one who reminds us the most of the swaggering, energetic Sinatra of the later days.

Billings, who is a diminutive actress, possesses a voice with a nice range and she brings the youthful spark of Sinatra to the audience. In fact, she very well could be one of those bobby soxers, who once squealed with delight over the crooner.
Roxy audiences tend to love revues, and with these memorable songs that spanned decades, fans of Sinatra will find a treasure in this one conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson.

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