Gail Martin, Independent Editor
Drayton Entertainment is taking its theatre patrons on a Sentimental Journey with its current production of Big Band Legends, now showing at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.
The show is the fifth installment in the wildly popular Legends series, conceived and created by Drayton’s artistic director, Alex Mustakas.
It is easy to see why these shows are so popular — they are a celebration of music and personalities, personalities that are just as impressive as the music they sing.
And, when you look at the music celebrated by Big Band Legends, it is also a chance for audiences to be transported back in time.
It doesn’t hurt that Mustakas also has a remarkable ability to find great talent for his productions, and Big Band Legends is no exception.
The powerful vocals of the Mantini Sisters — Ann, Barbara and Sandra — are accompanied by male singers that have just the right amount of swagger to pull off Sinatra, Michael Bublé and Dean Martin — and the voices to pull it off as well.
Eddie Glen, Michael Killinger and Michael Vanhevel are superb as they cruise through a medley of songs produced in an era that many acknowledge as the best.
The work of composer Howard Cable — who worked with many of the legends himself, including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Bob Hope and Danny Kaye — is also evident. Several times during the performance, different songs are sung simultaneously, with overlapping vocals, making for many stunning moments during the show.
That, combined with the athletic dance moves of Kimberly O’Neill and Jesse Weafer, the beautiful orchestral music from the in-house band, and the stunning costumes and visually appealing set, all combine to make Big Band Legends a powerful and mesmerizing walk down memory lane.
Big Band Legends runs until Aug. 12 at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse. For more information, visit www.stjacobscountryplayhouse.com, or call 519-747-7788.