Ray Romano Producer Offers One-man Show
Kevin Johnston, New York Local Music Examiner
July 4, 2011
What do you do after you've become the Executive Producer of "Men of a Certain Age," starring Ray Romano? Oh, and along the way, you've discovered Luther Vandross, managed Zach Galifinakis, and written hit songs. What do you do after you've done all that? Why you put on a one-man show about Frank Sinatra, of course.
That is just what Cary Hoffman has done. This accomplished writer, producer, songwriter and manager has mounted a tribute to Frank Sinatra, now playing at the Midtown Theater in New York City, that includes not only Hoffman's remarkable Sinatra-esque vocal stylings, but a running dialogue about his obsession with Sinatra since Hoffman was a boy.
Hoffman talks the audience through his childhood and adolescence, when he spent most of his time longing to be Frank Sinatra. He practiced incessantly in his room, took some beginning gigs in the Catskills, and ran headlong into rock n' roll music. Much like the real Frank Sinatra, Hoffman just didn't get it.
As he recalls his ambitions and frustrations, he punctuates the monologue with Sinatra songs, which he sings with near-perfect Sinatra phrasing and vocal tones. He is not a Sinatra impersonator; he's a Sinatra interpreter. The show does not so much recreate his idol. It's a tribute.
His tribute led to a PBS special, and draws audiences in New York, as well as art centers around the world.
There are times during the show when Hoffman convinces the audience he was more than a little off-center as a child, and his Sinatra obsession begins to seem like a disorder that developed as Hoffman tried to escape the pain of a screaming mother and the deaths of his father and step father.
But slowly Hoffman redeems himself with his account of how he became his own man (leaving out all of his remarkable accomplishments), and his ambitions to be a star seem to come to fruition right there on the stage. By the end of the show, Hoffman has become fully himself, and he fills the stage not with Sinatra, but with Hoffman.
And the trip through Sinatra's great songs is the icing on the cake.
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