BWW Review: SINATRA CHRISTMAS MY WAY: A SINATRA HOLIDAY BASH! Jumpstarts the Christmas Season
The Performing Arts Repertory Theatre (PART) under the direction of Gordon Cantiello together with Rick Brayshaw has crafted a holiday treat. Singing the greats of Ole' Blue Eyes, this cadre of four veteran vocalists, Matthias Jeske, Jodi Vaccaro, Wendy Eaton, and Bob Goding, brought an opening night jam-packed house back to the days of smooth tunes, sophisticated dress, and Jack Daniels. Songs, jokes, stories...all combined for an intimate evening with warm holiday spirit.
Against a backdrop of Christmas trees, presents, and other holiday décor---and of course, a bar-the performers mixed it up. There were some of Sinatra's best loved hits like, "Come Fly with Me" and "New York, New York." There was a medley devoted to winter, one on the moon, and a nostalgic look at Christmas with such wonderful songs as, "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," and "An Old-Fashioned Christmas." These were just the tip of the iceberg. Sinatra crooned hundreds of songs to the top of the charts. PART did its part to gift to us a generous sample of them.
Wendy Eaton retold the O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" tale of the combs and the watch with whimsy, ending it with a sweet side note on the gift of sacrifice. Matthias Jeske regaled the audience with a creatively crafted poem. Jodi Vaccaro graciously offered a brief synopsis of some of the most unique Christmas songs, and Bob Goding offered a joke about the angel atop the tree. The crowd favorite was a wacky game called, "Stump the Audience," led by Jeske and Vaccaro that had everyone in stitches.
Musical director, Jennifer Novak Haar, played piano and directed the excellent three-piece ensemble that included Mark Haar on bass and Brandon Armstrong on percussion.
A special shout out to Matthias Jeske who could have stepped straight out of Sinatra's era. His appearance and presentation have that throwback polished appeal, and his voice contains a smooth resonance pleasant to the ear. Bob Goding did a marvelous job with "That's Life" with lovely harmony by Eaton, Jeske, and Vaccaro.
SINATRA CHRISTMAS MY WAY will make you feel the merriest! The show will run December 2, 8, and 9 at 7:00 pm and December 3 and 10 at 2:00 pm in the old Crossroads Mall off 72nd and Dodge.
Photo (left to right): Bob Goding, Jodi Vaccaro, Wendy Eaton, Matthias Jeske