Upstate Beat: Center Stage returns with “My Way”, a tribute to Frank Sinatra

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Frank Sinatra has had a career marked by comebacks. As he went from teenage idol to heartbroken ballad, Rat Packer swing, and cultural icon, he occasionally faded from the spotlight only to come back stronger than ever.

Center Stage Theater in Greenville is making a comeback with a new show called “My Way”, which pays homage to the music of Sinatra. The production, which runs until August 8, is the theater’s first show in 18 months.

“He has so much going on in his job because he was able to reinvent himself and think outside of what was comfortable for him and really push himself.” -Laura Nicholas, General Artistic Director, Center Stage

Center Stage Artistic Director Laura Nicholas is aware that the theater is preparing for a comeback with a show dedicated to an artist who has mastered the art of comeback.

“I was incredibly inspired by Sinatra’s career,” says Nicholas, who also runs “My Way”.

“He’s got so much going into his job because he’s been able to reinvent himself and think outside of what’s comfortable for him and really push himself. And that’s something that I think we can all learn from, a man who was looking to improve himself.

The show features six singers / dancers / actors performing over 50 Sinatra hits, from “Fly Me To The Moon” in “Chicago” to “I’ve Got The World On A String” in “New York, New York”, accompanied by a stripped-down jazz trio. Due to the sheer volume of Sinatra’s classics, however, Nicholas says they can’t quite hit all of the highlights.

“There’s a joke on the show where someone says, ‘We’re going to play all the Sinatra hits in their entirety for you tonight,'” Nicholas said, “then someone else says, ‘This We would take exactly eight days if we’re going to do it ”because it is a huge job. But it’s a lot of really wonderful and lovely music.

The show, originally designed by David Grapes and Todd Olson, spans Sinatra’s entire career, but the performers (Arleen Black, Celia Blitzer, Marianna Bracciale, Seth Hildebrand, Craig Smith, and Brian Reeder) don’t emulate the singer. iconic.

“We’re not really impersonating Sinatra with this show,” Nicholas said. “They just help tell the story of his career. They will tell throughout the show; there are little bits and pieces of Sinatra, quotes from his life story and then just a few little anecdotes that he lived. So this is definitely Sinatra, but we certainly won’t impersonate him. “

Due to social distancing issues, the theater will be operating with limited capacity, which actually gave Nicholas the chance to try something new.

“Something I always wanted to do was a cabaret club environment inside our space. So now that we’re creating social distancing seats for “My Way,” we actually have little tables built for each small group of people. It will therefore be more of a cabaret or a jazz lounge. It will be a truly unique experience that we have never had before.

Vincent Harris - Bonfire Visuals
Vincent Harris. Photo by Bonfire Visuals

Although there won’t be as many people in the audience, Nicholas says he’s delighted that Center Stage is reopening.

“It’s like we’ve been through a war and coming home,” she says. “It’s exhilarating to have the feeling of success this year. I think there have been many times over the past year where I was just looking to the future and just wasn’t sure when we would be able to reopen. There were times when I was like, “Are we going to go to next summer and put on a show?” So being at this point is such a great relief. “

“I’m really proud of how Center Stage has survived during this truly unprecedented time.”

For more information on tickets and timetables, visit https://centrestage.org/.


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