With a narrow brimmed fedora, sitting atop the grand piano the Quality Hill Playhouse presents All Sinatra. With direction from J. Kent Barnhart, the audience is entertained with about fifty songs made famous by Ole Blue Eyes or The Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra.
In most Quality Hill productions, Barnhart provides the audience with humorous quips about the songs they perform. In the current revue, Jon Daugharthy and Melinda MacDonald provide the history of the songs and the man. They are both excellent as they tell the tales of one of the most influential entertainers to grace the stage. Barnhart adds clever remarks, but most of the laughter comes from the others who spin the yarns with excellent comedic timing.
Barnhart has been the Executive Director of Quality Hill Playhouse since he founded it in 1995. He has produced over 200 musicals, plays, and cabaret revues for the playhouse and other theaters in and around Kansas City. The numbers that he and his team selected for the Sinatra tribute are uplifting, filling the theater with high energy.
Patrons generally are not encouraged to sing-a-long with the entertainers on stage, but during the song
“High Hope,” Barnhart says he will allow this during the chorus. After a very subdued first attempt, he prods the audience to a higher degree of participation. The patrons erupt in laughter, when after the second attempt Barnhart states, “That was better, but I wouldn’t hire you to sing on the stage.”
Jon Daugharthy has appeared previously at Quality Hill, the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, American Heartland Theatre, and with the Kansas City Symphony. He has a wonderful voice and stage presence. The highlight of the performance comes in the second act when he does a rendition of the Bobby Darin favorite, “Mack the Knife.” This is undoubtedly one of the best performances to grace the playhouse stage. I am an avid golfer; the best way for me to describe his performance is that it was the Tiger Woods of vocals.
Melinda MacDonald makes her fourth appearance in All Sinatra at the playhouse. Her voice is strong powerful, when she sings a ballad with Daugharthy, the voices blend in perfect harmony. She has appeared in several playhouse productions, with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The New Theatre, and Starlight among others.
Brian Wilson accompanies the vocalists on bass, Ken Remmert on drums, and on piano by Barnhart. Wilson and Remmert are veterans of the Quality Hill Playhouse.
All Sinatra continues at the Quality Hill Playhouse through February 23. Purchase tickets at the Quality Hill Playhouse website or call 816-421-1700. The next offering of the playhouse is Great Duets of Musical Theater, March 7 through April 6.