56 Sinatra songs are a joy at Depot Theatre
WESTPORT – Just to make this clear, I am a huge Frank Sinatra fan. From his movies to his ability to make a song instantly recognizable as his own, Sinatra’s music transcends any generation gap. His are big shoes to fill, and the Depot Theatre’s cast of four theater veterans does just that in “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.”
Broadway-seasoned actor Paul Binotto (Man No. 1) leads this ensemble, with the rest of the cast weighing in with their own impressive off-Broadway and national tour credentials.
The set is a seemingly simple cocktail lounge from the 1950s, with checkered floor and chrome highlights. Bonnie Brewer’s set design and lighting summon the carefree spirit of Sinatra’s time. She cleverly conjures a full moon one moment and a dance room the next while Debbi Hobson’s costume design captures a timeless era. Musical Director Joe Schermann is seated on stage tickling the ivories while leading us through a treasure trove of 56 of Sinatra’s 1,300 musical standards.
Director Evan Pappas successfully guides these seasoned actors through performing the songs, not just delivering them. It is a subtle distinction but adds depth to the performance. The songs are banded together to highlight Sinatra’s origins, what he liked, loved and places he lived, all performed with a tip of the hat to an icon.
Binotto does not attempt to impersonate Sinatra but brings an air of sophistication to each song he sings with his rich, smoky baritone. His on-stage partner Tiffan Borelli’s (Woman No. 1) classical training shows through her effortless ability to enact each song with charm and grace.
Lake Placid native Maggie Politi brings sass as the ingenue Woman No. 2, belting out her share of Sinatra tunes while harmonizing with the rest of the cast. Politi’s mezzo-soprano blends perfectly with her partner Erik Keiser’s tenor. Keiser (Man No. 2) is a true song-and-dance man, evoking the energy of a younger Sinatra. He brings his background in dance to the stage, making it his own. The whole ensemble brings life to these standards, but Keiser’s comedic timing adds another dimension to each song’s story.
I would have gladly stayed to hear these performers sing the additional 1,244 Sinatra songs, if that option had been available to me. There are only four performances left: July 24, 25, 26 and 27. This performance should be heard by anyone in love with music with its nod to history and reverence toward “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” Make the trip to the Adirondack Coast for this spectacular, fast-paced musical tribute.