Wayside Tribute Does It ‘My Way’

Star Traylor
The Winchester Star

Wayside Theatre delivers a heavy dose of nostalgia with “My Way,” a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra. Dressed in classic retro evening attire, the cast of four treats the audience to 57 of Sinatra’s best-loved songs with live musical accompaniment.

Simplicity makes this production a success. Each of the cast members can carry a tune, although Tony Gudell seems to have a particular knack for invoking the spirit of the era with his full-bodied crooning voice and Sinatra-esque swagger.

Jan Johns conveys the sweetness of a young ingenue, complementing Thomasin Savaiano in the role of the sexy siren. Both women are adept at dancing in high heels, although it’s the singing that makes this production. John Stanier delivers an energetic performance infused with plenty of jokes and comedy.

The set is reminiscent of a cozy nightclub or lounge in the 1950s, with tables set up on stage, and a shimmering tinsel tapestry hanging behind the band, which is made up of piano, bass, and drums.

In between songs such as “Strangers in the Night,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” and “Witchcraft,” the performers sip martinis and reminisce about the man who was called “The Chairman of the Board.”

Much of what is said about Ol’ Blue Eyes during the show offers insight as to what kind of person he was, not just as a performer, but in real life. The cast relays anecdotes about how Sinatra was viewed by his “Rat Pack” peers, (with great respect and admiration), his lingo, and his women.

The songs in Act I are mostly jovial and fun, while Act II is more wistful with songs such as “Drinkin’ Again,” “Here’s to the Losers,” and “My Way.”

Born in Hoboken, N.J., Sinatra recorded his first record in 1939. In the 40s, he became the idol of the blooming generation of bobbysoxers. He died in 1998 at age 82, having made around 1,800 recordings and winning nine Grammys.

No doubt those who were fans of Sinatra in his heyday will fill the majority of the seats at Wayside during the production of “My Way.”

But younger people who see the revue will likely enjoy it as well, because Sinatra’s lyrics and his persona are about as timeless as they come.

“My Way” runs through March 30. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $21 and $26 for adults, and $10 for children 17 and under. Call 869-1776 for more information.

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