Western Herald – Review: Farmer’s Alley offers the perfect Sinatra retrospective with “My Way”

Review: Farmer’s Alley offers the perfect Sinatra retrospective with “My Way”

John Campbell
A&E Reporter

Farmers Alley Theatre is putting on a real ‘18 karat’ production with the cabaret show “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.” With over 50 of ol’ Blue Eyes’ greatest hits, the show is perfect for anyone, especially if Sinatra is their ‘bag.’

Singing the songs of someone with the nickname “The Voice” might seem like a daunting task, but a quartet of Laura D’Andre, Jeremy Koch, Amanda Martin, and Garen McRoberts are more than up to it. At times, in fact, these four fantastic singers seem as though they are tapping into the very soul of Sinatra.

Kicking off the show by singing “Strangers in the Night,” the quartet croons to the audience from start to finish. Each member has a unique enough sound to their voice to make the songs their own, but they all also have a real knack for paying true tribute to Sinatra.

Throughout the show, the singers go through many of Sinatra’s biggest hits, including “Love and Marriage,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That’s Life,” “Witchcraft,” “ New York, New York,” and the title song, “My Way.” Most of the time, each member of the quarter sings part of a different song in a medley, with all four joining together to sing the finale. Some songs have more duets than solos, however.

No matter the song, each member nails it. D’Andre’s voice is extremely sultry and seductive, and Martin perfectly complements that sound with her own sweet, lilting tone. McRoberts’ instrument is bright and beautiful, while Koch is the cast member who sounds the most like Sinatra, but pulls off effective tribute without coming across as a gimmicky imitator.

Koch and McRoberts dress the part, each wearing two different suits in classic Sinatra style and D’Andre and Martin both look absolutely stunning in their two dresses each. At various points in the show, the four don the classic Sinatra-style fedoras. Credit costume designer Elaine Kauffman with these effective and classy touches.

Behind the singers, look for a fantastic trio of musicians talented enough to back Sinatra himself. Pianist and musical director Marie Kerstetter, bassist Mark Tomlonson and drummer Matthew Smalligan all do an absolutely amazing job. The set design, by W. Douglas Blickle, is also simply outstanding, with its silver and blue background taking audiences back to a 50s style nightclub, while the ighting (by Jason Frink) accentuates the set design and spotlights the singers to perfection.

Putting on a tribute show to a legend such as Sinatra must be done right, and “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” is the perfect mix of throwback and fresh twist. Included in the price of the ticket are amazing hot cocoa and a dessert choice, between New York style cheesecake and a turtle brownie.

Director Sandra Simpson has concocted a show that is wonderful for all ages, even those too young to know anything about Frank Sinatra. In fact, “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” is the perfect way to introduce newcomers, both young and old, to the music of Sinatra.

“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” can be seen at Farmers Alley Theatre on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., Dec. 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $33 or $35, depending on the performance, and can be purchased at the Farmers Alley Theatre box office, by phone at 269-343-2727 or online at www.farmersalleytheatre.com.

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