Celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early, guest artist Michael Andrew and the DSSO enchanted the “sold out” in-person crowd of 150 at the DECC and the streaming “at-home audience” with a 90-minute concert performed without an intermission. The orchestra, sounding lush and full, with a strong horn section, evoked the big-band style from a bygone era.
For two years, Andrew was a headline singer and bandleader at the famous Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York City, where he also hosted a live radio show. He has appeared with symphony orchestras across the United States including Akron, Albuquerque, Birmingham, Melbourne (Florida), Jacksonville, Long Beach, Missoula, and Orlando, among many others.
He has formed and performed with his own big bands, Swinghead and the Atomic Big Band. Also appearing in musical theater, he starred in a musical stage adaptation of Jerry Lewis’s movie, “The Nutty Professor,” directed by Lewis himself.
While Andrew does not strive for impersonation, his mellow tone, velvet styling, and elegant lyric phrasing make him right at home with the Sinatra catalog, as well with a few other singers from the big band era.
Andrew did justice to many of Sinatra’s signature ballads and love songs, including “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” I Only Have Eyes for You,” and ”My Funny Valentine.”
Broadway was well represented with tunes like Frank Loesser’s “Luck be a Lady Tonight” (from ”Guys and Dolls)” and Cole Porter’s ”I Get a Kick Out of You” (from “Anything Goes”).
Andrew stayed in the Sinatra groove with other Cole Porter classics, including “in the Still of the Night,” “Night and Day,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
Stepping away from Sinatra to honor a few other big-band singers, Andrew had some fun with Bobby Darrin’s “Beyond the Sea,” “Splish-Splash,” and “Mack the Knife.” He also did a solid version of Dean Martin’s signature theme song, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.”
Andrew noted that Sinatra’s favorite big band to sing with was the Count Basie Orchestra. The concert’s soaring title song “Fly Me to the Moon” came from that collaboration.
Andrew built to Sinatra’s powerhouse trio of “That’s Life,” “New York, New York,” and, of course, his inimitable anthem, “My Way.”
Legend has it that Sinatra was getting tired of show biz and even contemplated walking away from his career when he heard “My Way.” It went on to become his biggest number-one hit.
The song’s autobiographical nature for Sinatra hits home with lyrics like “The record shows I took the blows/And did it my way.”
Acknowledging that he has been singing “My Way” for many years, Andrew joked. “When I first started singing this song I was probably too young to sing it but now I am old enough.” Indeed, he sold it with conviction and panache to bring the concert to an exciting end.
If You ‘Go’
What: Sinatra: “Come Fly with Me” DSSO concert
When: Streaming information at dsso.com
Cost: $10 for single concerts or a season ticket for $40 for all 5 concerts (including the upcoming February 27, March 20, April 17, and May 8 dates)
Information: dsso.com or call 218-623-3776
Sheryl Jensen is a former teacher, magazine editor and director. She reviews theater for the News Tribune.