Frank Sinatra: The Second Century

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Frank Sinatra: The Second Century

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, October 30, 2021

Reviewed by Ron Forman

Frank Sinatra

The latest edition of Scott Siegel’s long-running, now twice-monthly series, Frank Sinatra: The Second Century continues to provide evidence that Sinatra’s incredible musical legacy lives on more than two decades after his passing. Each show in the series is different, but the successful formula is always the same. Gather a cast of talented vocalists, pick about a dozen songs that Sinatra sang on recordings, in concert, or on radio or television, then have the vocalists perform the song in their own style of singing. Siegel introduces each song with an interesting bit of information or by telling a funny story.

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In this show, he told how Sinatra, after getting his shoes shined, gave the shoeshine man a $100 tip and asked “Have you ever gotten a tip this big?” The man replied, “Yes Mr. Sinatra, you gave me one.” Music director Ron Abel remarkably was able to adjust his arrangements and piano accompaniment to each performers style and sound.
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The show opened appropriately with a Sinatra classic, Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You,” performed by Albert Nelthropp. Adam Gallago’s big voice worked very well on “With a Song in My Heart,” a song that Sinatra never recorded, having only sung it on the radio. Gallago would return to do a very beautiful version of one of my favorite songs, “Once Upon a Time,” a song, Siegel informed us, surprisingly, that has lyrics by Mel Brooks. After Siegel told how Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyrics to “Autumn Leaves” on the back of an envelope, Michael Winther did a delightfully soft performance of it. Winther returned to do a bold, bluesy“I’m Gonna Live Until I Die.” Ben Jones belted a bombastic, very different “I Wanna Be Around.” Abel included a wonderful piano solo while accompanying Jeffrey Kringer on “All of Me.” Opera star John Easterlin showed off his wonderful tenor with “Born Free.” Jones displayed his versatility as a vocalist by beginning “In the Wee Small Hours” very softly, almost whispering the seldom-sung verse, but then building to a very big finish. “My Way” is a song associated with both Sinatra and Elvis Presley, yet with the use of his marvelous sound and dramatic facial expressions, Easterlin ended the show in a thrilling manner by doing it His Way.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.