Dillon picks from New York City for ‘My Way’
summit daily news
For Brittany Jeffery, performing in “My Way: A Tribute to the Music of Frank Sinatra” is a dream come true. She has spent the last 10 years of her life listening to Etta James, Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra.
“I am a jazz lover,” Jeffery said. “I now know each and every jazz standard because of it. Jazz is my home in music.”
Jeffery joins Andrew Tebo, Adam Estes and Jennifer Lauren Brown in the Lake Dillon Theatre production of “My Way,” staged at Warren Station in Keystone.
Though Jeffery grew up in Germany, she graduated in 2008 from the Catholic University of America with a bachelor’s degree in music and has lived in New York City for two-and-a-half years. She, like most of her fellow actors, garnered a position with the Lake Dillon Theatre through its New York auditions. All four of the actors perform in Summit through Dec. 30, both in “My Way” and “[title of show].”
Each actor came to Dillon for different reasons, but all seem to appreciate the beauty Summit has to offer, as well as the receptive audience.
“I was actually quite surprised at the great response we’ve been getting for ‘[title of show],'” Jeffery said. “It is a very contemporary show. I mean, I take my shirt off, there’s a lot of swearing, and there are a lot of insider jokes. But the Dillon audience hasn’t had a problem with any of it. I think they realize that the show is about four friends and their dream. And everyone has friends and dreams, so how could you not relate? (The community) has been so lovely and kind.”
Tebo came to Dillon for the contemporary show – which was on his “bucket list” of shows he wanted to perform in – and he admits he wasn’t familiar with Sinatra’s music until he began rehearsals for “My Way.”
“I have to tell you, ‘My Way’ has been a challenge to learn musically but truly rewarding with the end result.”
After growing up in St. Louis, Tebo graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a bachelor’s in acting and directing. He describes himself as a “migrant worker,” traveling wherever he has to, to get a gig (including an Alaskan cruise ship last summer). And his approach has been working: He’s been able to support himself as an actor ever since he graduated in December 2008. He first appeared in a Lake Dillon show in the summer of 2009.
“I was happy to join the theater company because of the reputation (it) has in the theater world, as well as the amazing lineup of shows that were being produced that summer,” Tebo said. “Ever since I left in August 2009, I’ve always wanted to come back, and when Chris contacted me about joining the winter rep, I was psyched to jump on board.”
Lake Dillon Theatre’s reputation also attracted Estes. As he points out:
“(Audiences) are so lucky to have a theater like Lake Dillon bringing top-notch entertainment to their community.”
Estes first came to Dillon to play the Emcee in “Cabaret” three summers ago.
“I love it up here,” Estes said. “The scenery is beautiful, the theater is lovely, and the audiences are so appreciative. Where else can you go skiing all afternoon, go out to dinner at one of the area’s amazing restaurants, and then go see a professional live stage production?”
He also loves working with the other three actors.
“Everyone has such a different personality, and that makes for a lot of fun on stage,” he said.
For example, Brown isn’t your typical ham. She says she was “quite shy” as a kid, but she discovered the stage offered an outlet. After graduating from Harvard College with a degree in film studies, she moved to New York City, where she spends “as much time as possible performing and pounding the pavement.”
She appreciates the disparity of the two productions she performs in at Lake Dillon Theatre.
“Both shows have something very interesting to offer,” Brown said. “‘[title of show]’ is a very new musical, and it is an awesome opportunity to play a part which so few people have played before … I wasn’t very familiar with ‘My Way’ before auditioning, but the score is filled with undeniably beautiful music.”
She said that musically, working in a small cast is more interesting and challenging because oftentimes she has to hold her own harmony line. The small group also has provided an opportunity to bond well, she said.
“I love being surrounded by a creative, dynamic group of people, both in the cast and on the creative team,” Brown said. “It is a pleasure and a privilege to sing these songs (in ‘My Way’), most of which are standards that have been recorded and performed thousands of times by a plethora of amazing singers, including, obviously, Frank Sinatra.”
The show spans Sinatra’s entire musical career, with snippets of 60 songs he performed. Director Chris Alleman chose “My Way” because Sinatra’s music resonates with a theatrical style and because Alleman sees it as a family show that fits the theater’s demographic well, he said.
“I think almost everyone in America has some connection to a Frank Sinatra song, whether they know it or not,” Estes said. “I didn’t realize how many songs he had made famous until we started rehearsing the show.”
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