‘RAT PACK’ PACKS TO THE MAX: Passion for classic Vegas sells out community production ‘The Rat Pack Lounge’ before first ring-a-ding note is sung
Odds were pretty good that a musical about iconic Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. would do well in Las Vegas, where the late, legendary entertainers famously headlined.
But Courtney Sheets, director of Super Summer Theatre’s jukebox musical, The Rat Pack Lounge, was pleasantly surprised at just how well the show was doing a full week before opening night.
“The entire run is sold out before we even open,” Sheets said during a Feb. 27 rehearsal. (The show opens March 5 and runs through March 22. Tickets went for $20 each.) “That’s a first for me, in all my years doing theater.”
It’s a heck of a way to wrap up the third season of Super Summer Theatre’s “In City Series,” an offshoot of the company’s popular outdoor productions staged during the summer at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. The “In City Series” moves the party indoors — to a studio on Valley View Boulevard near Flamingo Road — for the winter. Here, audience members get to enjoy smaller, more intimate shows, without having to pack their parkas.
“When it gets too cold out there, we bring them in here,” Sheets said. (Story continues below video.)
The Rat Pack Lounge carries the added warmth of nostalgia. Written by James Hindman and Ray Roderick, the story imagines Frank, Dean and Sammy in the afterlife. The three crooners have made it to heaven, but there’s a catch — some unfinished business back on Earth. God informs the guys they have one night to go back and fulfill an old promise made to Vic, the owner of a Vegas dive bar. Otherwise, they’ll spend eternity burning in hell with former Rat Packer Peter Lawford. (Poor guy.) Since they no longer have bodies, Frank, Dean and Sammy have to take over those of three men who happen to be in the bar at the time.
Hilarity, as they say, ensues.
The show is packed with more than 30 hit songs —”My Way,” “Come Fly with Me,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” among them — sure to leave theatergoers humming.
“Everybody loves the music of the Rat Pack,” Sheets said. “Everybody knows those songs.” She described the show as “a fun night of silly jokes, good times (and) great camaraderie.”
Wayne Morton, who plays Frank Sinatra, agreed. “We’re probably having too much fun doing this show,” he said with a laugh while standing at the onstage bar. “We’re having a blast.”
A longtime entertainer who retired to Las Vegas years ago, Morton was able to draw on his own memories of Sinatra for the role.
“I’m not the youngest pup in the cast,” he said, “so I’ve seen Frank when he was still alive. He comes off a lot of times as a tough guy, but he really is kind of tender on the inside.”
Kelly Lee Williams, who plays Sammy Davis Jr., described his as a dream role.
“I grew up being a Sammy Davis Jr. fan,” the Chicago native said. “I pretty much came to Vegas to do this. This role, in this moment.”
The cast also includes Daniel Organista as Dean Martin, Meghan Elizabeth as Angie and Napolean Buenrostro as Vic.
Missed your chance to buy tickets? Don’t fret. Super Summer Theatre’s upcoming season — its 45th! — kicks off soon, with tickets on sale this month. First up is Mary Poppins, opening in late May at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. For more information, visit supersummertheatre.org.
To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld @lvcva.com.