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Posted May 10 , 2013

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Opening Day

Smashing Tribute to The Chairman of the Board at the Drayton Festival Theatre

DRAYTON – The Drayton Festival Theatre has raised the curtain on its 2013 Season with a soul-stirring tribute to one of the greatest performers of the past century. The Songs of Sinatra is a wonderful musical journey through the life and legacy of the iconic American singer and actor, Frank Sinatra. The production is on stage now through June 1st.

Jersey Boys meets Il Divo as a seven-person ensemble of tuxedo clad crooners performs rousing renditions of Sinatra’s hits like “New York, New York,” “Strangers in the Night,” and “My Way.” The Sinatra Seven is made up of Kevin Forestell, George Krissa, Graham Parkhurst, Adam Francis Proulx, Chris Sams, Michael Vanhevel and Chris Zonneville.

“The Sinatra Seven are a sensational group of performers who perfectly emulate the style and sound of Frank Sinatra,” says Artistic Director Alex Mustakas. “They each radiate charisma with that silky, smooth coolness and vocal talent that made Sinatra a legend.”

David Rogers serves as the production’s Creator and Director. An audience favourite, Rogers has appeared in many Drayton Entertainment productions over the years, and his distinguished body of work includes playing Raoul and The Phantom himself in The Phantom of the Opera. Rogers’ knowledge and comfort with Sinatra’s songbook is evident in the stunning combination of visual display and show-stopping numbers that tell the rich story of a Hollywood legend while giving each member of The Sinatra Seven individual moments to shine.

The Songs of Sinatra contains hit after hit and anyone who grew up in the era of bobby-socks has the chance to relive their youth and admiration for their idol, while younger audiences are entertained by the collective talent and boy-band appeal. The Sinatra Seven have theatregoers swooning with their arresting good-looks and velvet voices.

Michael Vanhevel displays easy charm and electrifying energy as he pays homage to the renowned performer. Originally from Grand Bend, theatregoers were introduced to Vanhevel last season in Big Band Legends at the Huron Country Playhouse. The young singer was first discovered by Alex Mustakas on YouTube when Vanhevel posted videos of himself singing various Sinatra tunes.

Chris Zonneville of Sarnia was last seen by Drayton Entertainment audiences in the 2006 production of The Mikado at the Huron Country Playhouse. A multi-faceted performer, Zonneville is well cast in this upbeat production and his admiration for Frank Sinatra is palpable.

Five other up-and-coming performers make their Drayton Entertainment debut in The Songs of Sinatra including Kevin Forestell who captivates theatregoers with his finely tuned performance of each magnificent song. George Krissa displays the class and grace reminiscent of the illustrious star and Graham Parkhurst shows tremendous vocal talent that perfectly suits the role of a crooner. Adam Francis Proulx shines as “the funny guy” of the seven performers and his excitement for the role is undeniable. Chris Sams displays endless enthusiasm to round out a dynamic young group of entertainers.

With Rogers at the helm, the Creative Team includes Associate Director and Lighting Designer David Hogan, Choreographer Adele MacKenzie and Music Director John Yun. Hogan, Mackenzie and Yun succeed in creating the perfect atmosphere to showcase a stellar group of performers, creating a spectacle that has audiences singing their way out of the theatre.

Yun, who also performs piano for the production, leads an expert band that features Kevin Dempsey on drums, Tony De Luca on woodwinds and Fil Stasiak on bass. Mark Payne provides Orchestrations and Musical Arrangements for The Songs of Sinatra.

Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. His musical career began in the swing era, recording his first songs with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Sinatra achieved unprecedented success as a dreamy baritone solo artist and earned such nicknames as “The Voice” and “The Sultan of Swoon”. His success spread to film when he won Best Supporting Actor for From Here to Eternity in 1953.

A founding member of the “Rat Pack”, Sinatra enjoyed decades as a celebrity heart-throb and leading man. He received eleven Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. From his famous hit “My Way” to countless duets with other music legends, Sinatra captivated audiences with a timeless sound that spanned generations. Often consider the greatest entertainer of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra died in 1998 at the age of 82.

The Songs of Sinatra is on stage through June 1st at the Drayton Festival Theatre.

Tickets may by purchased online at www.draytonfestivaltheatre.com, in person at the Drayton Festival Theatre Box Office, or by calling (519) 638-5555 or toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).


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