Sinatra: Dance With Me [Encore] – Production Review
Creating an aspect of an entertainer show without taking away the power from its namesake can always be a bit tricky. However with a show like “Sinatra: Dance With Me” which recently opened at the Encore Theater in Las Vegas, the necessity of visual storytelling emphasizes the literal beauty that made Twyla Tharp’s earlier “Movin’ Out” on Manhattan’s Broadway so inherently feeling. The aspect that makes this piece work here, as with that earlier production, is having the band in full view on the stage. Whereas “Movin’ Out” had its musicians catered above the stage, here the band, which relishes in the lushness relevant to that of Nelson Riddle, captures the feel of the big band sound of the 40s while still using the actual voice of the legend.
The narrative flow centers around a nightclub in the 50s where different lovers of different textures past each other in night. Beginning with the vigilance of “Stardust” which paints a picture of hope and fear at the same time, the character of Kate. played by Karine Plantadit, infinitely takes the lead with a stage presence so strong as to rival Tina Turner. Moving with a silky vehemence, she anchors the show with a sense of energy especially during music sequences as she is carried around and flipped with ease.
Matthew Stockwell Dibble plays the character of Chanos who loses the light of his life before taking up with Slim (Marielys Molina) who feeds his darkness giving the show a sense of humor with an inherent underlying irony that gives the songs infinite depth. The revolving color scheme persisting within sections of each song allows for distinct shift in mood. John Seyla and Laura Kanyok, who play Sid and Babe respectively, interpret the push and pull of would-be lovers playing games on the dance floor as a show of their wanton emotions.
Whereas some might be off put with the acting structure of thoughts purveyed with no words, the background of the ballet base revolves more with a sense of modern dance. Using the basis of the intensive movement of “Making Whoopee” to the slow transgression of “Saturday Night Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week”, Tharp captures the wants and needs of a generation while making the energy and temptation natural for the show’s requisite tone. “Sinatra: Dance With Me” is one of the better shows to come out of Vegas in years because the production value and talent is undeniably high and it is made with a gesture of love that could only be possible through the vision of Steve Wynn and his long cherished relationship with the Sinatras. Out of 5, I give “Dance With Me” a 4.