Our Sinatra, the Off-Broadway show long ensconced at the Reprise Room at Dillon's, was all set to follow the example of Tony 'n Tina's Wedding and The Syringa Tree and go on a month-long hiatus rather than close in the face of the decreased theatre audiences caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. However, "a positive upswing in business" allowed producer Jack Lewin to keep the show going, and now the revue has reached its second anniversary Off Broadway, Dec. 19
The revue, which continues to play eight shows per week, currently stars Hilary Kole, Tom Postilio and Ronny Whyte.
Sinatra plays at "The Reprise Room," a new performance space in the restaurant Dillon's on West 54th Street. A sleeper hit at the Blue Angel Theatre since Dec. 8, 1999, Our Sinatra played its last show there Aug. 12, 2000, and moved to the Reprise Room the next night. The 140-seat Reprise Room (somewhat smaller than the Blue Angel) had never been used as a performance space. The show remains under a standard Off Broadway contract.
Our Sinatra, officially opened Dec. 19, 1999. Supervised by Richard Maltby Jr. (Fosse, Ain't Misbehavin') and directed by Kurt Stamm, the performer-conceived production is a tour of some 50 songs (full tunes and medley versions), from "Witchcraft" to "Time After Time" to "These Foolish Things," and more.
The show's original co-producer, Scott Perrin, who is no longer associated with the production, also produced the long-running Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know. Our Sinatra started as an August 1999 cabaret show (seen at the famed Algonquin Oak Room), conceived and then-performed by pianist Eric Comstock, vocalists Christopher Gines and Hilary Kole. Stamm and Maltby helped shape this version, making some cuts and adding a couple of different tunes. Stamm told Playbill On-Line (Dec. 8, 1999) that the production celebrates some of the lesser-played Sinatra works, rather than ubiquitous hits such as "New York, New York."
"We're steering clear of the stuff that is so cliched," said Stamm at the time, "but there are hints of the hits in some places. It's more about digging in and finding the hidden gems, finding the orphan songs that weren't known until he recorded them." Consequently, listen for "These Foolish Things," "To Love and Be Loved," "Without a Song" and "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" Sinatra would have turned 86 years old Dec. 12, 2001.
Stamm, who is an artistic associate of Maltby's, first heard the trio when popular song historian Jonathan Schwartz recommended the performers for a Maltby-directed tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen in the Lincoln Center "American Songbook" series in October.
Designers for Our Sinatra are Alan Moyer (sets), Jeffrey Nellis (lighting) and Matt Berman (sound).
For tickets to Our Sinatra call (212) 239-6200.
—By David Lefkowitz
and Robert Simonson