“My Way” a celebration of Sinatra tunes

Stacy Peterson
The Fayetteville Observer
June 16, 2003

Start spreading the news: “My Way,” the Frank Sinatra tribute, is a hit. The Cape Fear Regional Theatre opened the song-packed show this weekend and continues with performances through June 29. The show closes the theatre’s 41st season with a bang.

“My Way” is not a show with a Sinatra impersonator. It is also not a biography of Ol’ Blue Eyes and his 60-year musical career. Instead, it is a celebration of the songs he made famous broken down into themes and periods.

Favorites, Broadway, moon songs, summer songs and even a section dedicated to losers, “My Way” covers them all. In fact, you’ll find 56 songs or melodies to remember, sing along with or just hear again for the first time in a long while.

Another interesting angle from "My Way” is the cast. There are four singers, two men and two women. Deborah Leamy (who serves as choreographer, director and actor), Roger Rosen, Beth Zeder and local singer and actor Greg King take turns singing. They each reflect and act out scenes from a smoky cabaret that celebrate those life moments Sinatra will never let us forget.

Zeder’s beautiful jazzy and smoky voice sounds incredible with her solo selections. King’s voice shines in the quieter ballad moments with just piano; Rosen’s deeper voice comes closest to Sinatra’s sound. Leamy rounds out the cast with her wonderful delivery and range.

The best moments of the show come in the selections sung by the entire quartet. The standout selections are “It was a Very Good Year” and “That’s Life,” in which King sings lead vocals with the group singing a melting “doo-wop” backup accompaniment.

“My Way” also works in that Leamy and the actors don’t take the show too seriously. They let each medley flow into the next with natural humor and audience participation. The songs look at young love, flirting, drinking, even marriage and being a survivor.

There are also sad moments, even classic slides of Sinatra’s life during “My Way,” but the show varies the pace and the song selection enough to keep everyone snapping or singing along.

The creators of “My Way” premiered the show in 2000 in Nashville, Tenn., with original piano and vocal arrangements by Vince di Mura. That arrangement is handled well by the theatre’s “My Way” musical director and pianist John Coffey.
He is joined by Wes Smith on bass guitar and Rick Starling on drums, each performing with the confidence and grace needed to accompany such beautiful songs.

In short, “My Way” is a fun return to Sinatra, the voice of the 20th century, and the times when life seemed much simpler.

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