July 18, 2006

'My Way': Sinatra swings

By Marcus Kalipolites
For the Times Herald-Record

Ellenville - An overflow audience says a lot about the magic of Frank Sinatra. And in Friday night's presentation of "My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra" at the Shadowland Theatre, the theatergoers could not have been more pleased.

As musical revues go, this production directed by Michael LaFleur has it all: more than 60 classic songs recorded by Ol' Blue Eyes, four talented performers who scramble through a variety of song-and-dance routines, and the set design of Drew Francis providing just the right ambience.

The set includes - besides fedora and coat spotlighted at center stage at pre-show time - lounge-type panels on the borders, a bar with drinks, a café table and an elevated arena upstage for the three- piece band.

Performing the vocals are Equity members Paul Buschman, Kim Reed, Danny Rothman and Randie Shane. In a show that deals mostly with the ups and downs of romance, this resourceful foursome captured, without falsely trying to imitate, the singular style of Sinatra - the whole gamut of moods.

For an adept opening to the show, the four performers enter and get "acquainted" with a cordial "Strangers in the Night." And while, in the 11 sets that followed, each of the singers delivered mostly solos, several numbers also expanded into duets and quartets.

In the ubiquitous title song "My Way," which consummates the entire show and appears near the end, Buschman's resonant voice sets the resolute tone before each of the others joins in to corroborate the momentous song.

Earlier in the program, Buschman is suave in "I've Got the World on a String" and sassy in "Can I Steal a Little Love?" While in "Summer Wind" his mood is warm and mellow, by the time he gets to "I'm Gonna Live 'til I Die," his demeanor and voice are gutsy and dramatic.

For her first solo, Reed exhibits tender feeling in "The Way You Look Tonight." In "I Get a Kick Out of You," she turns chipper as she accentuates the lyrics with a kick or two. Two other contrasting moods find her ominous in "That Old Black Magic" and endearing on "All the Way."

Rothman's deliveries range from upbeat in "Sunny Side of the Street" to playful in "Makin' Whoopie" to downright proud in both "My Kind of Town" and "Chicago, Chicago." He also joins Shane in a cozy duet of "Love and Marriage."

For her part, Randie is sexy in "All of Me," reflective in "Where or When" and highly adoring in "I Love Paris." Fancy footwork marks her song- and-dance routine in "The Lady Is a Tramp."

Two ensemble standouts are the contemplative "It Was a Very Good Year" and the full-throated "New York, New York." Rounding out the cast are band members Jeremy Baum at the piano, David Winograd on bass and Larry Balestra on percussion.

If you Go! ...

What: "My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra"

Where: Shadowland Theatre, 157 Canal St., Ellenville

When: 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat.; 2 p.m. Sun. through Aug. 6, 2006

Tickets: $23, $21 students and senior citizens; Sun. tickets: $22

Call: 647-5511

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