Parkway Playhouse presents sultry summer evening with 'My Way'

Jim Cavener
Asheville Citizen Times

BURNSVILLE - What's more appropriate for a sultry mid-summer evening than a Sinatra musical revue? Parkway Playhouse is presenting David Grapes and Todd Olsen's "My Way," a compilation of Old Blue Eyes' most famous tunes.

The 50-plus musical selections range from the works of Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern, to Dorothy Fields and Cole Porter. Tunes by Sammy Kahn, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart are also included. Johnny Mercer, is of course, heard, along with Glenn Miller, Paul Anka, Cy Coleman and Gordon Jenkins.

The evocative set with signature backdrop is by John David Stallings, the imaginative lighting by Michael Schutte. The formal gowns and white dinner jackets are by Jo Ann Taylor. Company manager, Andrew Gall, is also the director who steered these four varied talents into a cohesive ensemble. Not to be unnoted, the on-stage, but background, musicians - also formally clad - are Nils Egerstrand on percussion, Christopher Williams, bass and musical director and pianist, Amanda Wessell. Their accompaniment of the singers is consistently fine.

The core of the evening is the vocal performance of all those stellar tunes. Long-time Burnsville dentist Tom Donnelly is outstanding in his cool and secure stage presence and in his rendering of those familiar Sinatra songs.

Kelly Christianson has a fine voice and good stage presence and can tap dance up a storm. Her dance duet with Jesse Benz is a hoot. And Benz is his usual zany selfand doing his best with the demands of a primarily singing role.

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