The intimate space at the Mizel Center proves the ideal venue for a charming night of song

Frank Sinatra didn’t think it proper for a man to yawn in the presence of a woman.

He recorded 59 studio albums and over 1,000 songs in the course of his long career.

He hated chain smokers.

Also known as “Old Blue Eyes” and “The Chairman of the Board,” Sinatra was from Hoboken, NJ, but traveled the world extensively before his final curtain in 1998.

Those are a few of the factoids the cast tosses out during My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. Now playing at the Mizel Center in Denver, a production of Cherry Creek Theatre, My Way is pretty much summed up in its title, and if you like Frank, you’ll love this show. Lovingly directed by Susie Snodgrass and featuring four distinct and complementary voices, My Way is divvied up into two acts and chunks of Sinatra material curated thematically (songs from movies, love songs, Rat Pack era, etc.).

This is the opener for the 10th season of Cherry Creek Theatre, which performs in the intimate black-box Pluss Theatre at the Mizel Center. It’s the perfect venue for My Way, and scenic designer Tina Anderson went all-in with a set that transports us back to, oh, say a back room at the Tropicana circa 1963. With art-deco fixtures, red drapes and a kitschy, frilly thing hanging above the grand piano, the mood is set. Some of the front-row seats even have cocktail tables in front of them, complete with red cloths tied at the base.

Mood set, pianist extraordinaire David Nehls (also the show’s musical director) starts ripping through the Sinatra songbook with four unnamed characters: Sheryl McCallum, Stephen Day,  Shannan Steele and Jeremy Rill. There’s no “star,” no person portraying Sinatra — it’s as if four friends who all love Sinatra got together and decided to sing a bunch of his songs. (And, BTW, are all great singers.)

Along the way, they set things up with a little historical background, crack a joke or two, cut a few dance moves here and there and sip from cocktails. They’re decked out in tuxedoes and taffeta dresses (costumes by Kelly Gregson) in the first act, switching to dinner jackets and party gowns in the second. (The only thing missing for ultimate realism is a pall of cigarette smoke, but no one complained about its absence.)

And yep, all the biggies are in here, from “Summer Wind” and “New York, New York” to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and, of course, “My Way.” There are also a few lesser-known songs thrown in for good measure, but since Sinatra had hits galore, anyone with even a passing knowledge of his music will know most of the 50 songs in the show.

Like most legends, Sinatra’s fame was generated through a lot of hard work and endless hours in studios and on stage. He had the best songwriters of the day at his beck and call, and to listen to this group of songs is to take a highly enjoyable trip back in time to understand what all the fuss about Frank and his music was all about.

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