Cosmopolitan Cabaret presents My Way, a Sinatra revue that is a little bit sauced, a little bit saucy

by Shelley Blanton-Stroud
Sacramento Bee

After the last strains of the first song, "Strangers in the Night," at last night's Cosmopolitan Cabaret production of "My Way, a Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra," singer Karole Foreman (Woman No. 1) leaned into the crowd and whispered, "I bet everyone in this audience has a memory associated with that song." Do they? I had to ask myself if only gray-haired Sacramentans might be moved and entertained by a local show of Sinatra medleys.

In truth, the answer is complicated. Last week, my 18-year-old son was driving me around town with his iPod plugged into the stereo.  He played, his choice, not mine, a remix of that very song, "Strangers in the Night," by the young Berkeley band, The Morning Benders. And it was good. When I was a 22-year-old grad student in 1984, I did have a memorable night dancing on a table at Senor Frogs in Mazatlan over spring break with other ridiculous, North American, college-aged beach lovers, singing "New York, New York," very badly.

I think many of the songs Frank Sinatra made famous continue to attract new listeners, because their lyrics and their tunes (and Frank's particular vocal style) often suggest a mix of longing, regret, self doubt, resilience and intoxicated hubris, a mix that remains very current. So, though the crowd last night was full of gray-haired guests who knew all the words and raucously bantered with the four singer-stars while rattling the ice in their old fashioneds, I could also picture twenty-somethings enjoying the night, so long as they appreciate a little bit of camp and a little bit of syrup, as I do.

The four member cast includes Karole Foreman, the charismatic Woman No. 1, Laura Dickinson, a real throw-back to the 1940's beautiful lady-crooning, and Jeffrey Christopher Todd, a young, trim, handsome and funny guy (presumably a reminder of young Frank) who makes a perfect foil for Old-Frank, Michael G. Hawkins, who surely does channel Sinatra's sauced and saucy persona. He was my favorite. None of the singers tries to replicate Sinatra's delivery, and that is good, since it would be impossible.  But they do a very nice jb of reminding us of the shifting tones of Sinatra's songs.The best moments happen after intermission, beginning with "Losers Medley," which I loved, and ending with "I'll Be Seeing You," for those who like to drink through the show and cry a little at the end.


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