Saturday night I was transported back in time to an America I have only heard and read about. This weekend was the opening weekend of the WWII Museum’s Stage Door Canteen show – “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.”
Everything the WWII Museum does is first class, and this new show is no exception! This was my first show at the Stage Door Canteen, and I was enamored with the intimate dining setting and the staging and lights that made you feel as if you were in a live nightclub in Frank Sinatra’s day.
The cast of Courtney Boe, Cristina Perez, Ryan Fischer and Clint Johnson, was perfect. I would describe the talent as “top notch.” Their voices were exceptional and their harmonies reminiscent of music from the past. Though too young to have experienced the era they portrayed, you felt as if they had lived through it. The casting and directing was suburb!
I knew the classic Sinatra hits, but I haven’t paid much attention to Sinatra and how much he defined that time in American society. With all the complaints from today’s Establishment about song lyrics, I didn’t realize Sinatra reflected a reality that was not nearly as open as it is today.
There was a song about a lady who is a “tramp” and a song about “making whoopee (having sex)!” And here are some of the lyrics of “I Get A Kick Out of You.”
“Some get a kick from cocaine, / I’m sure that if I / Took even one sniff, / It would bore me terrifically, too. / Yet, I get a kick out of you!”
But it was the way things were presented in the past that remind us of how much America has changed. America used to be more glamorous. I love America today, but the tribute to Frank Sinatra at the Stage Door Canteen made me fantasize about what it must have been like to go to nightclubs in the past. I’m part of the rock generation and I always heard my parents talking about Sinatra and nightclubs, but I never thought I would have enjoyed it – until now.
It’s always nice when a movie or a stage production provide a total escape from our immediate world by delivering us to a past era. “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” at the WWII Museum is a first class trip to America’s past.
There are many things that are better about America today, but I did enjoy the feeling of the America my parents knew. There was no specific dress code for the show, and I tend to be casual in my life, but I did ‘dress up’ Saturday night…and perhaps that allowed me to feel more part of that era. Remember when things were more formal? Remember when you would wear a coat and tie and dress up to go on a commercial flight? Compare that to the many people who will board a plane today in flip flops and a tank top.
It brought back memories of when I would dress up when my parents would take us to dinner at a restaurant that would be considered a very casual restaurant today. There was a time when you didn’t go to nightclubs or nice restaurants in jeans, but today, you can dress the same for a rock concert or a fancy dinner. I remember hearing the story about Led Zeppelin pulling up to the club 4141 on St. Charles in the 70s and being turned away because they were wearing jeans! Led Zeppelin!
I’m not sure it’s better today than it was, but it certainly is different. There is a part of me that would have enjoyed that era and I may be inspired to look for opportunities to dress up rather than dress down.
BTW – I’m not a food critic, but the food at the Stage Door Canteen was great! The shrimp and grits, the grilled chicken with a light citrus glaze and the chocolate mousse were tasty and perfectly fit the setting.
For those who lived through Sinatra’s world, the new show at the Stage Door Canteen will bring back wonderful memories. For those of us who were not part of that time in America, the show is a reminder of a time when nightclubs and entertainment in America were glamorous.
I hope you enjoy “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” now at the Stage Door Canteen at the WWII Museum – and if you’re young, enjoy experiencing an America you have only read and heard about!