Seatlle Civic Light Opera

Song-filled homage to singular crooner

By Tom Keogh
Special to The Seattle Times

"When my father heard I was doing this show," one of the performers tells the audience during Civic Light Opera's "My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra," "he said, 'Sinatra sang the soundtrack to my life.' "

No doubt millions of people expressed that testimonial during the latter half of the 20th century and are still uttering it today. Frank Sinatra turned a lot of the songs he sang into more than recorded tunes: He made them instant institutions with both an epochal and intimate character.

"My Way," a sumptuous revue that brings vintage elegance to CLO's appealing theater, notes that Sinatra recorded more than 1,000 songs. Many of those constitute a canon that can be divided into themes, which is precisely what happens in this production. The book by Todd Olson rotates between praise for Sinatra's gifts and setting the mood for a series of medleys organized around different shades of love.

Two women, two men, a piano, a bar ... it really is Frank's world in "My Way." Singers Natalie Moe and Jessica Low look smashing in gowns, carrying themselves like a smoky dream of the woman who might walk in a joint before the last round. Eric Emans and Josh Wingerter are the tuxedoed gents alternately pining for an elusive love or basking in the glories of a sophisticated affair.

Choreographer Kelly Willis, musical director Paul Linnes and director Teresa Thuman make a flowing, silky experience of it all. The highlight, of course, is the music — … the show's vocalists represent the spirit of all 56 songs covered (in abbreviated form) over a very pleasant evening.

Highlights include the "Broadway Medley"; a black-tie overview of "My Funny Valentine"; "Let's Face the Music and Dance"; and "I Get a Kick Out of You." The "Loser's Medley" is a moody run through "One for My Baby" and "It Was a Very Good Year." Particularly enchanting is the "Moon Medley" ("Dindi," "Wave," "Dream"), though it's the autumnal wisdom of "The Survivor's Medley" ("Best is Yet to Come," "That's Life") that somehow make you miss Sinatra most of all.

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