Last Tuesday we went to the Arizona Broadway Theatre to see a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra called My Way. What a great place that is. What a great show it was. This was the opening of their sixth season, the last five of which we’ve had season passes, and we love the convenience of it, the quality of the shows and dinners. No more do we have to make that horrendous trek to Gammage to see a good musical. ABT is an easy twenty minute drive to the Arrowhead Mall area: east on Bell to Chili’s (one light past the Target entrance), turn right for two blocks, and there it is, sort of right behind the Peoria Sports Complex.. Or, on 83rd going toward the Arrowhead Harkins, you could hang a left at Red Robin and follow your nose, easy to get to, easy to park.
You enter a spacious lobby, with bar to the left and ticket office and restrooms to the right. The walls hold colorful posters of past shows. You are then ushered to your assigned table. I think the seating capacity is around 400, and not a bad seat in the house. This night the stage was already set up without a curtain: a semicircular wall at the rear with floor to ceiling openings, New York skyline behind. Three circular tiers on the left led to a bandstand for grand piano, percussion, and bass. On the floor level there were tables and chairs and a bar at the rear. The back wall as we entered was done in alternating cream and pale violet. And right in the middle of stage front, a standup mike with a pale blue fedora rakishly atop. We were all set for Frank.
We arrived about an hour and a quarter before curtain (or in this case, no curtain). Our servers Macy and Steve brought us hot breadsticks and cocktails, then later took our orders: seafood bisque for Don and Jean, mesclun greens for Rosalie and me, and entrées of bistro beef tenderloin for Don and Jean, stuffed breast of chicken for Rosalie, and veal osso bucco for me. This menu is as good, as classy, as you’d find anywhere in the Valley.
And at 7:30 the show began. A cast of two couples sang a total of 57 (57! Count ‘em!) numbers from the Sinatra library. According to one bit of patter from one of the singers, Ol’ Blue Eyes recorded over 1300 songs, many of which were recorded multiple times throughout his career. Most of us grayheads know most of the best known, but some were new to us. The couples didn’t try to do a Sinatra impersonation, just sang his songs in their own styles. Act I consisted of 36 songs grouped according to topic or theme: Favorites Medley, Broadway Medley, Cities Medley, Young Love Medley, Summer Medley, Love and Marriage Medley (Part 1), and Love and Marriage Medley (Part 2). The voices were very good, the songs sung as solos, duets, or four-part harmonies.
At intermission, the house lights came up and we had coffee and desserts, each couple sharing a chocolate brulée tart. Whew! Half an hour later the lights dimmed, and Act II began, 21 songs grouped again by theme: Loser’s Medley, Big Flirt Medley, Moon Medley, and Songs for Survivors. The last number was a rousing version of “My Way,” after which we all stood to give them a standing ovation. The spokesman informed us that Frank never gave encores, but they broke with that tradition by singing “I’ll Be Seeing You.” What a great night out.
What about price, you say. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but well worth it. On the seasonal package, our tickets for show and meal are $60 apiece, plus whatever we spend on cocktails and dessert and gratuity. The whole thing comes out to about $80 apiece. I count it as the best $80 I could spend. Anyone from Sun City West reading this, if you haven’t yet been to the Arizona Broadway Theatre, you should try it. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s money and time well spent.
Oh, yes, and My Way runs through October 24, followed by 42nd Street (Oct. 29-Nov. 21), My Fair Lady (Jan. 7-Jan. 30), The Drowsy Chaperone (Mar. 4-Mar. 27), The Full Monty (Apr. 22-May 15), All Shook Up (June 3-June 26), Baby, The Musical (July 22-Aug. 14), and Steel Magnolias (Sept. 2-Sept. 25).