Los Angeles Music Preview: THE SINATRA PROJECT (Michael Feinstein and the Pasadena POPS in Arcadia)

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by Tony Frankel on July 27, 2015

in Theater-Los Angeles


Of all the Michael Feinstein Pasadena POPS concerts so far, my favorite was last year’s presentation of Gershwin songs—and it wasn’t because of the selections or Feinstein’s history with George’s brother Ira as friend and archivist. It was because Feinstein set aside the conductor’s baton and vocalized in his inimitable style: Charismatic, appealing, boyish, excited, and eager to please. This Saturday August 1 looks to be just as exciting when the consummate showman lets Larry Blank lead the Pasadena Symphony in an evening dedicated to Frank Sinatra. In celebration of The Chairman of the Board’s 100th birthday, Feinstein offers a one-man tunefest at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.


But you can expect more than just songs, which include “Luck Be a Lady,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” and “For Once in My Life.” Feinstein is an extraordinary raconteur and will offer anecdotes both public and personal about Ol’ Blue Eyes.

“I have wanted to pay tribute to Frank Sinatra for many years because of his kindness to me when I had the opportunity to meet and know him,” says Feinstein. “The big trick or the hardest part of doing something like The Sinatra Project is to create a show that pays tribute but does not copy him. I tried to choose songs and material that are well known and lesser known to give a sense of the man and his personality. And the songs that I perform—that are familiar ones—I try to do slightly different from the way Frank Sinatra sang them because nobody did them better than he did. Our show also contains a beautiful tribute medley to Sinatra that thematically puts together a number of songs so that we have a little story.”


I highly recommend you arrive early to park and set up your food and drink (you can also pre-order gourmet dining packages or buy beverages and fare on site as well). I like bringing goodies to share with my neighbors. The grounds open at 5:30 for a 7:30 show, which gives you time to visit the Pasadena Humane Society’s Mobile Adoption Unit. There you will find deserving animals in need of a forever home as part of the Pups for POPS program.

The anticipation is keen because the Arboretum can accommodate a massive number of patrons yet the show is nearly sold out. No matter where you sit, two huge LED video screens on either side of the outdoor stage help the viewing. And Feinstein’s off-the-cuff, friendly, intimate style will have you feel as though this was a living room salon (admittedly a ginormous living room with thousands of guests).


previous concert photos by Kay E. Kochenderfer

The Sinatra Project
Michael Feinstein & the Pasadena POPS
Larry Blank, conductor
Saturday, August 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
301 N. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia
for info and tickets, call (626) 793-7172
or visit www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org

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