Who is the greatest and most influential interpretative artist of the 20th century? Following an outstanding performance by Albert Schultz in his latest work, one will undoubtedly agree that it is none other than Mr. Frank Sinatra.
Prior to watching the show, I had expected Frankly Sinatra to be a replication of the late performer’s stage acts. What Schultz created was something astonishingly different that had exceeded all prior expectations.
In many renditions of a Sinatra-style show, some of the moments can come across as cheesy and the actors tend to over-act, but as a self-described Sinatra fanatic, Schultz’s creation was incredibly intimate and special.
The show began in a dimmed scene as Schultz’s voice filled the theatre with warmth and melody. As the lighting in the theatre brightened, the audience was introduced to a classic Sinatra stage setting. It was a simplistic setting, consisting of an old-style microphone that Sinatra himself would have used, and some classic instruments, like the cello; the layout of the stage itself was minimalistic, showcasing a stool, a small table of oranges to represent the colour that Frank Sinatra loved, a bottle of Jack Daniels -- Sinatra’s favourite -- and some classic drinking glasses.
After the initial impression, what followed was a lively and heartfelt performance, delivered to the audience in a narrative sequence about Sinatra’s life from when he was child with great ambitions, to his astounding rise to fame.
Albert Schultz took us back to a simpler time, when the “American Dream” was not only extremely prevalent, but ran rampant in the hearts and souls of the people who believed in it, and this is expressed through Sinatra’s most notable tunes. Each song performed was accompanied by reference and background that tied it into Sinatra’s life at that moment in time. As the lights dimmed and the show concluded, the theatre was ecstatic and a well-deserved standing ovation was given.
Schultz delivers a naturally descriptive performance that is compelling throughout its entirety. There truly could not have been a better voice to speak about the life and times of such an influential icon. One would imagine that Albert Schultz could look back at his masterpiece years from now and say that he indeed “did it his way.”
Frankly Sinatra runs at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts for two more performances on Oct. 11 and 18. For more information visit soulpepper.ca.