A summer cabaret tribute to the tunes made popular by Ol' Blue Eyes at the Algonquin Hotel is now blowing its horn in an expanded two-act form, Our Sinatra, opening Dec. 19 at Off Broadway's Blue Angel Theatre.
Supervised by Richard Maltby Jr. (Fosse, Ain't Misbehavin') and directed by Kurt Stamm, the performer- conceived production, which began previews Dec. 8, is a tour of some 50 songs (full tunes and medley versions) associated with Frank Sinatra, from "Witchcraft" to "Time After Time" to "These Foolish Things," and more.
The August 1999 cabaret show (seen at the famed Oak Room) was conceived and performed by pianist Eric Comstock, vocalist Christopher Gines and vocalist 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 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, "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?"
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). Expect tuxedos and an evening dress for costumes. Producers are Jack Lewin and Scott Perrin.
Tickets to the show, which was embraced by critics in its earlier form, are $50-$80. A New Years' Eve performance at 7 PM is priced at $75-$100.
The 299-seat Blue Angel is at 323 W. 44th St. in Manhattan. Call (212) 239-6200 for tickets.
-- By Kenneth Jones