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Spirit of Blue Eyes resounds in 'Christmas My Way'
If director Trina Williamson has her way, tonight’s audience at the Central Stage Theater of County Kitsap will need their coats indoors — to account for the goosebumps.
Not because of the stage setting: a 1960s nightclub aura backed by the sparkle of a big city skyline.
And not because the theater has somehow developed a nasty draft.
The moment the eight-member cast of the Frank Sinatra holiday revue “Christmas My Way” combine their voices in harmony, Williamson predicts an epidemic of chills.
“When you hear them sing the quintessential ‘My Way,’ the wall of sound — that’s what I have to call it — is amazing,” she said. “The audience will get shivers.”
It’s a typical expression applied to a cast and sound Williamson said is anything but, calling their range and harmonies — even in sleeper hits like “Mistletoe & Holly” — “angelic.”
“Christmas My Way” will play through Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays. CSTOCK is located on the top floor of the Silverdale Community Center on Silverdale Way.
In rehearsals since October, the production isn’t about imitating Sinatra, but capturing his spirit, his attitude and his — ring-a-ding-ding! — language. Based on the original “My Way,” the holiday version splices in some of Sinatra’s famous seasonal numbers with original hits, allowing cast members some anecdotal play as they punctuate each tune by cracking wise in Rat Pack style.
The show’s original set-up calls for just four singers, two of each gender. But as CSTOCK is known for its large casts (see: Music Man, to debut in February with a 52-person cast), Williamson wanted to double the number. Based on the sounds they’re making, it was a good choice.
“When they sing together, it’s — wow,” Williamson said.
On stage, the men wear tuxedoes, the women dress in eye-catching glam. Many of the cast have appeared on the CSTOCK stage in the past; they span generations, from teens to 50s.
Offering Sinatra snippets and anecdotes — in some cases of the openly corny variety — Williamson said the cast has turned the show into a tribute to the man, while making each note their own.
“They’ll catch a glimmer (of Sinatra),” Williamson said. “There are glimmers of him there. You’ll just see it and it’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s so Frank.’”
They’ll sing famous tunes such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That’s Life” and “Love & Marriage,” along with holiday favorites “Winter Wonderland,” Silver Bells” and “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”
The set is aglow with new lighting techniques and purple and black hues, and a band sits on stage — all things Williamson said go beyond typical community theater.
“Not just your ears, but your eyes will be totally feasting,” she said.
Williamson herself has played in “My Way,” and wanted to bring the show — and the warm feelings she happily associates with it — to CSTOCK.
“I’m a little selfish. I loved my experience with the original ‘My Way,’” she said. “There’s just something about (Sinatra) that makes people happy. The music is still universal.”
“Christmas My Way” at Central Stage Theater of County Kitsap
Produced by Rich Jacobsen
Dec. 4-20, Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 6 p.m.