Totally Frank 

Sinatra style in Walnut Creek.

Chances are, CTA Crossroads' new production of My Way will accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and won't mess with Mister In-Between. "There is dialogue" in the show, says artistic director Claire Yarrington, "but the dialogue in this case centers around the uniqueness of Frank Sinatra in all of his fifty-some-odd-year career. It shares music from every era of his life, and some of what that meant to him and to the people who are singing it." The people singing the 56 songs in My Way's repertoire are Todd Carver, John Haithcock, Emily Saxe, and Leah Tandberg, with a trio of musicians. Saxe represents the women Sinatra was crooning to in his younger days, while Tandberg is the show's Marilyn Monroe type; Carver represents Ol' Blue Eyes' early, big-band years, and Haithcock is the latter-day incarnation.

"It just so happens that the man playing Man One," Yarrington says, "who is the Frank Sinatra of the Rat Pack years, is someone who both the director, Joe Barnett, and I have known for years as someone who's both sung those standards and just embodies Frank Sinatra. He's [Haithcock] the closest thing to Sinatra that I've seen, and he didn't actually audition for us. We went looking for him."

The show was conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson and first performed in New York in 1999 and has been staged consistently all over the United States and Canada ever since. Yarrington cites My Way as being a perfect fit for a "funky, found space" like the nonprofit CTA Crossroads (1277 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek). "This whole four-person vehicle is a fairly new concept for musical theater, and it's worked very well in smaller spaces," she says. "I've seen, off-Broadway, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Forbidden Broadway, and they're shows that are loosely structured; they're not the traditional plot and protagonist and antagonist kind of shows, or the standard, big-book musical. They're really more of a revue."

The play runs through November 8, on Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Thursday, October 30 and November 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $22 from 925-944-0597. Info: CTACrossroads.org

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