Sierra Rep's Tribute to Sinatra Captures Tone of the 1950's

Modesto Bee - August 13, 2002

Frank Sinatra and his music deserve to be remembered. Both the artist and his work get a fitting tribute in "My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra" now playing through Sept. 8 at Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora. Then the entire production moves to Merced Multicultural Arts Center for a run from Sept. 11-27.

..the show is a feel-good two hours that captures in tone and setting, a 1950s club performance.

The four who share duties doing Sinatra are Christia Mantzke, Susan Hoffman, Christopher A. Kent and Michael Vodde. Each of the four has stellar moments. Hoffman's torch-singer moods elicit the same melancholy that Sinatra would. Kent and Vodde are two peas from the same pod in song and dance, and their eyes testify that they believe in what they are doing and singing.

Mantzke's performance before intermission is breathtaking. She makes you believe she could hit notes that have yet to be invented, but she harnesses her vocals to Sinatra's stylings.

The company's jazz trio is indispensable to the show. John C. Brown is musical director and pianist. He is joined by Jack Sinclair on drums and David Sackman on string bass. The band does an outstanding job following and complementing the vocalists.

Anyone over 40 will enjoy the trip down memory lane. "My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra" is playing at Sierra Repertory Theatre on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Sept. 8. There will also be a Sept. 11-27 engagement at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center. There are other special showtimes. Call 532-3120 for reservations or information. Tickets are $12-$18.


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