Sat, November 16, 2002

HIS WAY: Tribute to Sinatra Lovingly
Honors Singer's Talent, Passion

By Ken Keuffel
Journal Arts Reporter, Winston-Salem Journal

O
ld Blue Eyes must be smiling. The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem is presenting David Grapes and Todd Olson's My Way - A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra at the Arts Council Theatre.

T
he show, which opened last night, lovingly honors the great singer's unparalleled role in popularizing the Great American Songbook. Two couples - Jim White and Christine Gorelick, and David Joy and Summer Karagiozov - sing as soloists or in ensembles more than 50 masterful songs that Sinatra turned into hits.

The songs are divided into medleys, with each one corresponding to a different theme (from the moon to Broadway). The cast, picked and directed well by Jerry Hatmaker, also engages in brief, often-humorous banter and dances a bit. White moves as well as Sinatra did in his many musical movies, outclassing Joy in one sequence in a way that convincingly tickles the collective funny bone.

Also memorable is Joy and Karagiozov's amusing rendition of "Love and Marriage." She seems to love the idea of commitment etc. He clearly is not ready to settle down and it's written all over his face.

In general, each singer gets selections that play on his or her vocal strengths. Gorelick, for instance, made the most of several ballads, bringing out a wide range of emotions in "My Funny Valentine" and "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry."

White's refined sense of rhythm brought out the joyful swing in several numbers, most notably "That's Life." My Way transforms the stage into a handsome, intimate nightclub, recalling the Las Vegas venues that Sinatra and his cohorts performed in so often. A three-piece jazz combo keeps the music flowing along smartly without beingn too obtrusive.

Eva James Toia's lighting is some of the most effective that the Little Theatre has had in some time. Each color change nicely complements the change in musical mood.

The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem will present My Way - A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra through Nov. 24 at the Arts Council Theatre, 610 Coliseum Drive. Shows will be 8 tonight and Wednesday through Saturday. Matinees will be 2 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 24. Call 725-4001.

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