No one could possibly replace or even properly impersonate Frank Sinatra, so going the route of a musical revue in “My Way” is a much more appropriate way for the Theatre At The Center in Northwest Indiana to celebrate his most beloved and sometimes undiscovered material from the 1950s to 1990s. Set in a classy bar reminiscent of the Rat Pack days (a choice that would make “The Chairman Of The Board” feel right at home), actors/singers George Keating, Christine Mild, McKinley Carter and the newly added Andres Enriquez put a Broadway-styled spin on more than 50 tunes (selected from over 1,300), supplemented by several warm and witty stories.
“My Way” also dives below the most obvious surfaces from time to time, such as a glimpse at the early concept album “Moonlight Sinatra,” along with the all but forgotten ‘80s track “L.A. Is My Lady” (produced by Quincy Jones shortly after working on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”).
When it comes to the familiar, “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Chicago,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Fly Me To The Moon” and “The Best Is Yet To Come” are all included with the four co-stars and a three-piece jazz combo pouring their hearts into a vast pool of lyrical emotions. There’s straight-up love songs, break-up songs, make-up songs, showtunes and standards of virtually every stripe, all of which underscore Sinatra’s effortless ability to intermingle them all with the utmost ease.
“My Way” also dives below the most obvious surfaces from time to time, such as a glimpse at the early concept album “Moonlight Sinatra,” along with the all but forgotten ‘80s track “L.A. Is My Lady” (produced by Quincy Jones shortly after working on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”). Though many specific tracks are introduced individually or grouped into themed medleys, every single selection gets additional annotations in the program, which is an added take home bonus to the ripe artistic backstory behind “Ol’ Blue Eyes.”
Equally appealing are the show’s many tidbits about Sinatra’s personal life, ranging from a touching quote about world peace or a zeal to make the most of each moment, to frequent stops at the bar and a laundry list of Hollywood hook-ups. Even the audience joined the relationship guessing game at one point, with the Friday of opening week featuring a shout-out (followed by a stream of laughter) for mistaken involvement when Lady Gaga, when in fact, she was really a duet partner with Tony Bennett.
While that competitive crooner (who Sinatra once deemed his favorite singer) is still going strong at 90 years of age, the world no longer has that same privilege when it comes to this engagement’s main man. Nonetheless, “My Way” helps fills that massive void, and despite “The Voice” never giving a single encore throughout 60 years of concerts, the Chicagoland crowd is wisely rewarded with a few bonuses, since after all, this was and forever will be his kind of town.
“My Way: A Musical Tribute To Frank Sinatra” continues various dates and times at the Theatre At The Center through March 19. For additional details, visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com.