A TRIBUTE TO THE TRIBUTE by Barbara Biddison
Opening night of MY WAY! I was an usher so I got to see everybody go
into the theatre. Some who waited for the doors to open asked to see
a program so they could read it before the show began. I felt a
greater sense of excitement and enthusiasm as the to-be-audience
approached the doors and then finally entered. I think there is a
different kind of anticipation when you know what the show is about.
This one was about the music of Frank Sinatra, and that's why they
Four singers carried the show, all dressed in formal attire and placed
in what looked like a nightclub. And these singers know how to sell a
song. I've known Lilace Guignard for a long-time association with Hamilton
Gibson, and I know she can act and sing and be in character when she's
not "on." And she does all that while singing Sinatra's songs.
Laureen Wolgemuth has been involved with HG most of her life. For
this show she provides a lovely presence and voice for her
songs--songs that are especially suited to her and her personality.
Chris Eckhert is relatively new to our area, though hardly new to
singing. and he latches on to each song that he sings. (I see him
coming and going between Women's Chorus and Men's Chorus. rehearsals
on Thursday nights too.) And the fourth singer, Ian Brennan,, plugged
into the show just a few days before opening. Many of us have heard
his opening solo for Town Band Concerts on the Green in the summer.
That's just the singers.
There's a pit too. Adam Brennan on percussion, Dan Krise on bass,
and Derek Young on Keyboard.. We all know Brennan's positions
conducting/directing bands at MU as well as with our own summer Almost
World Famous town band. And Krise played standup bass for HG's own
RING OF FIRE.. Young was involved with HG before he got his Master's
and moved on to Binghamton U--he has played piano for more than a
decade. That's quite a pit!
Thomas Putnam has put all this together. Even though he doesn't claim
much credit as the director, we all know that this talented group of
experienced musicians did not just jump up on the stage and sing and
play last night. Someone had the vision. Someone knew this show
would appeal to a lot of people. Someone found the talented and
experienced performers. And we all get a show like this. It still
has this Saturday and Sunday to go. I plan to go again..