“His Way – Sinatra’s Centennial Celebration” is really more of a tour de force of the unbelievably talented Ron Hawking. This recipient of the 2014 Chicago Music Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award has spent over a decade building and honing a repertoire of spot-on impressions of over a dozen of America’s most beloved singing stars of the 1950’s- 60’s.
The show was a one night only performance presented as part of the “Made in Chicago” music series hosted by the historic Auditorium Theatre. A masterpiece of architecture, the Auditorium Theatre has been a favorite of Chicago theatre goers since its opening in 1889. Beautifully gilded in gold and sparkling with hundreds of lights, the Auditorium has showcased nearly every major figure in entertainment in the last century. The theatre’s landmark status was celebrated on Chicago’s “Auditorium Theatre Day” on December 9, 2014, on the occasion of its 125thanniversary.
Hawking does an admirable job of delivering remarkable and humorous impersonations of entertainers. He gave homage to Sinatra’s 100th birthday by singing the birthday song to him while wearing the famous Sinatra black fedora. His swinging renditions of such favorites as “You Make Me Feel So Young” had the audience literally dancing in their seats!
Mixed in with the Sinatra hits were signature songs and jokes of beloved singers and actors such as Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, and an especially good Jack Nicholson. These characters originated in other shows developed by Hawking such as “The Men and their Music” and “Home for the Holidays”, which, along with “His Way - A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” are some of Chicago’s longest running and most beloved musical tribute shows. They have appeared over a thousand times at The His Way Theatre in Chicago’s NBC Tower.
While Hawking’s feel-good show brings to mind such family centered entertainment as is popular in Branson, Missouri, the show seemed more suited to a dinner theatre or bar than to the large space of the Auditorium. Given the benefit of multiple performances however, veteran performance crafter Ron Hawking could surely thrive in such an arena.
“His Way – Sinatra’s Centennial Celebration” starring Chicago’s own Ron Hawking may have come to the Auditorium for a one night special performance, but the “Made in Chicago” music series continues. Tickets to upcoming events in this series are available at AuditoriumTheatre.org by calling (800) 982-ARTS (2787) or in-person at the Auditorium’s Box Office (50 E. Congress Pkwy). Check out upcoming shows in this series here.