Los Angeles Music Preview: THE SINATRA PROJECT, VOLUME 2 (Michael Feinstein & the Pasadena POPS)

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by Tony Frankel on July 12, 2016

in Theater-Los Angeles


I have seen Michael Feinstein perform many times, but he was never better than last year when he celebrated Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday with the Pasadena POPS at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. Indeed, The Sinatra Project was one of my favorite concerts ever, and not just because of the wonderful songs and awesome arrangements—it was because Feinstein set aside the conductor’s baton and simply concentrated on singing, and sometimes playing piano, in his inimitable style. Charismatic, appealing, boyish, excited, and eager to please, this consummate showman showed off his vocal chops to a sold-out crowd.


Well, get ready. On Saturday July 30, 2016,  Feinstein returns with a second affair of his Sinatra Project, conducted by the great Larry Blank (pictured at the bottom of the article). The one-man tunefest will contain more of Sinatra’s biggest hits, such as “Pennies from Heaven” and “Young at Heart,” along with a few you may have never heard before. Some arrangements will be from vintage charts while others will pay tribute to The Chairman of the Board. You’ll also get for the very first time the original complete arrangement for “Three Coins in the Fountain” as Sinatra originally sang it, since the original was cut in half for the film performance. All great stuff, but I warn you that this event will sell out, even though the Arboretum can accommodate a massive number of patrons, .

2012-PR-25-Michael-Feinstein-Sinatra-Legacy-Photo-3-Credit-is-Zach-DobsonAnd you can expect more than just songs—Feinstein is an extraordinary raconteur and will offer anecdotes both public and personal about Ol’ Blue Eyes. In case you didn’t know, Feinstein actually knew Sinatra.

But his approach really starts with the music. “It’s not about the persona; it’s not about the hat,” Feinstein said. “It’s about celebrating the man as a musician and finding the unique arrangements that give a broader sense of who he is musically and as a personality. Paying tribute to Frank Sinatra is very exciting because I’m able to put together a show that’s very different from what anybody else does … and I’m very careful in combining swing arrangements with great orchestrations of the ballads.”


The grounds open at 5:30 for a 7:30 show. 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. There are spacious circular tables with fine linens closer to the stage, and lawn seating for those who want to bring a blanket. No matter where you sit, two huge LED video screens on either side of the outdoor stage help the viewing. Even at a distance, 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). Here’s to life!

Larry-Blankphotos by Zach Dobson and Kay E. Kochenderfer

The Sinatra Project, Volume 2
Michael Feinstein & the Pasadena POPS
Larry Blank, conductor
Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 7:30 pm
(gates open at 5:30 for picnicking)
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
301 N. Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia
for info and tickets, call 626.793.7172 or visit POPS

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