‘My Way’ features the songs of a generation
Karen Mamone
The Pelican Press

Stephen Hope strikes a Sinatra-esque pose in “My Way.”Francis Albert Sinatra, it has been said, supplied the soundtrack for the lives of an entire generation of Americans. Members of that generation turned out in happy droves to hear those familiar lyrics and relive those times with Ol’ Blue Eyes at Florida Studio Theatre’s 25th season Cabaret opening.

“My Way” was created by Todd Olson and David Grapes as a musical tribute to the legendary performer, who died in 1998. The Cabaret production runs through Jan. 7.
Two shapely songbirds – a sultry Ava Gardner type (Kelly Atkins) and a perky Jean Arthur ingenue (Jennifer Johns) – and two wiry young men in the early Sinatra vein (Stephen Hope and Michael Zahler) are our tour guides on the musical caravan, which includes nearly 60 of his best-loved songs.

And with collaborators such as Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers, Sammy Cahn, Kander and Ebb, and Cole Porter, who could ask for more than to spend an hour or two in their company? Included are many of Sinatra’s signature hits, “All of Me,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and “It was a Very Good Year,” as well as a few less familiar, including “Can I Steal a Little Love?” from a 1956 Sal Mineo movie, or “This is All I Ask,” recorded in 1965.

Few artists can boast Sinatra’s longevity and his influence – from his first top ten hit (“I’ll Never Smile Again”) in 1940, to his 1967 smash (“Something Stupid”) with daughter Nancy, to a popular pair of duet albums in 1993, which sold 3 million copies.
It didn’t take long to overhear someone in the audience note, “They don’t write songs like that anymore.” And, “Isn’t it nice to hear a song where you can understand the words?”
Respectively: No, they don’t. And, yes, it is. Even those of us born after Sinatra had his first hit can appreciate that.

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