Cary Hoffman is a man with an obsession named Frank Sinatra. But his fascination with Ol' Blue Eyes is vastly different from that of the millions of bobby-soxers and groupies who have made music world icons the objects of their devotion.
Hoffman's show, "My Sinatra: The Songs and the Stories," at Catalina Bar & Grill on Thursday night, was a tribute, a musical simulation and an intriguing tale of the effect a public figure can have on a fan's private life. His utterly natural, unforced re-creation of the Sinatra sound and style could easily have provided a career as a convincing impressionist. But Hoffman, who also is a personal manager and owner of a New York comedy club, has a more far-reaching goal in mind.
Backed by a seven-piece band, he kicked off the evening with a few Sinatra classics: "Fly Me to the Moon," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "Night and Day." Between each number, he offered colorful anecdotes about Sinatra's relationship with arranger Nelson Riddle, his physical collapse in 1950, his extraordinary comeback, his various musical transformations, etc.
Fascinating as the combination of Sinatra-like singing with bits and pieces of intriguing memorabilia was, the connection it all had on Hoffman's own life made the performance mesmerizing. Growing up in New York with his mother and four musician uncles (some of whom played on Sinatra recordings), and dealing with the loss of his father (who had died in a car crash a decade earlier), he immersed himself in the music.