Symphony Space celebrated “Sinatra at 100” in a nine-hour musical marathon marking his Centennial with 100 songs and a wide variety of entertainers and musicians.
by: Linda Amiel Burns
“The Chairman of the Board,” “Ol’ Blue Eyes” or whatever you call him, Frank Sinatra is an icon and considered one of the best vocalists of the last or any other century. Sinatra was born in 1915 and died in 1998 at the age of 82. His voice is beloved and one of the most recognizable in music history. So much has been written about his amazing career and the huge legacy he left behind: recordings, performances, nearly 60 films and every possible award including an Oscar for From Here To Eternity.
With many events, such as the nine-hour musical marathon held at Symphony Space on Saturday, October 17th, 2015, it hoped that future generations would continue to listen and learn from this master and his artistry. “Sinatra at 100” celebrated his Centennial year and was divided into 3 segments at 2, 5 & 8 pm and guests could either come for the whole show or for one or two. Jonathan Schwartz, known for his “encyclopedic” knowledge of the Great American Songbook and host of WNYC’s longtime Saturday program, “The Jonathan Schwartz Show,” led the event and came out and introduced the host, Robert Creighton, for the final segment which was the one that I attended.
Russ Kassoff, who had played on and off for Sinatra for 11 years, was the musical director along with John Redsecker on drums and Dick Sarpola on bass for the 3 shows. The cast: Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano, Ryan Silverman, Storm Large, Harry Allen, Candice Hoyes, Karen Wyman, Noah Racy & Max Pollack, Nick Fibro, Lindsay Mendez & Marco Pagoda, Marilyn Maye. Direction was by Annette Jolles.
As each performer sang a song onstage, a banner flashed the name of the song and what number it was on the way to the promised 100 songs (Sinatra recorded close to 400). Eric and Barbara opened the show with the Richard Whiting/Johnny Mercer standard “Too Marvelous For Worlds” and sang a fine medley of “How Little We Know/Witchcraft.” The silver voiced Ryan Silverman, who recently starred in Sideshow, sang a nice “mash-up” of “Love Is Just Around the Corner/You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To/Come Dance With Me.” Outstanding was Nick Ziobro, winner several years back of Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook Contest. He is an old soul and performed “Come Fly With Me” so well that he would have made Sinatra proud. Another treat was Noah & Max performing “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” using their bodies as instruments and tapping out the accompaniment. Karen Wyman who has a big voice, belted out “You and The Night and the Music” along with other tunes.
Nobody else could close out “Sinatra at 100” but the legendary Marilyn Maye who always blows everyone away with her unique style and singing talent. She opened with a jazz version of “I’ve Got The World On A String,” then a torchy “I’ll be around” into “Don’t Worry About Me.” “Drinking Again” was the segue into a terrifically acted “One For My Baby.” With that song, she reached 100, but told her audience that she wanted to do one more song that used to be thought of as a man’s song, but at her stage of life, she could sing whatever she wanted. As the audience cheered, she sang a first-rate rendition of “Luck Be A Lady” and the sign went to 101!
To become a member of Symphony Space and to see the schedule of events: Visit. www.syphonyspace.org or phone 212 864-1414.
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
Video: Magda Katz