REVIEW: Sinatra Sings Sinatra, as I Remember It: Performed by Frank Sinatra Jr.

Categories: Do As The Locals Do, Music Diva
Contributing Diva:

By Angela Rocco DeCarlo

ng5d0i-b88276757z.120141205220503000g796oa1h.10Frank Sinatra is still dead.

But his music and iconic imprint on the soul of music lovers of several generations remains. Plenty of wheelchairs kept company with fresh-faced teens in coming to pay homage to a great iconic performing artist of the last century.

Frank Sinatra Jr., pianist and singer, debuted his paternal paean, “Sinatra Sings Sinatra: as I Remember it,” in Orange County, California, May 2, 2015. The show is scheduled for May 22, in Wilkes-Barre,PA, at Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.

It was clear the debut audience loved the show and gave both Sinatras – younger and elder – a standing ovation. In fact, a more enthusiastic crowd is seldom seen outside a rock concert.

Clearly they were swept away by the magnificent 39-piece onstage orchestra and the catalog of emotional memories Albert Francis Sinatra’s long career evokes in each individual.

Nonetheless, I confess I went expecting to hear, as well as see, something of the original Sinatra. Alas, there was no audio of Sinatra Sr. The show was a son’s remembrance with photos and his rendition of the music.

As a rich archive of film, television, recordings, as well as newspaper coverage of six decades, is available, hoping to hear the elder was not an irrational notion. Such material would have added sparkle while satisfying long-time fans’ desire to see him again.

The younger Sinatra’s voice is reminiscent of his father’s, and insinuates itself nicely into the many standards he sang of his father’s – from “Fly Me to the Moon” to the concluding “Put Your Dreams Away for Another Day.” The songs were interspersed with a no-frills narrative from birth, 1915, to death, 1998, conjuring his early big band career,the squealing teens, known as bobby soxers and on through marriages, career disappointments and outright character slams by the press. Though I don’t recall the prominent mention of his Italian American heritage, there was the suggestion of too-close affiliation with the “usual suspects” of unsavory reputation.

Sinatra’s life had enough love, adulation, disappointments, and career accomplishments to populate an Italian opera and the younger Sinatra’s recorded and live narrative seemed to cover it all. As his father was not prone to bragging of his good deeds or honors, the audience was probably unaware of the many conferred upon him, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mature audience members probably knew the details of Sinatra’s “life filled with incident” as well as his son. No one could forget the Ava Gardner episode or his smashing comeback with his Academy Award performance in “From Here to Eternity.”

The audience held new fans as well. An eleven-year old agreed it was fun, while a nineteen-year old said she loved the show and plays her grandmother’s Sinatra records all the time.

Still, it couldn’t hurt to have given the audience a little taste of dad… after all, without him, there could not be a show at all.

Angela Rocco DeCarlo, copyright, 2015

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