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June 02, 2005 - Image 67

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-06-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SWAGGER & SWING from page 63

The show runs June 7-July 3 at the
City Theatre, formerly the Second
City, in downtown Detroit, where
there are evening and matinee per-
formances. The Michigan version of
the theatrical musical play comes
three years after the production
debuted in Vegas.
"I wrote this with a lot of help,"
says Hackett, 48, whose wife, singer
Lisa Miller, lived in Michigan. "My
father was very instrumental in put-
ting this together, and Joey named it.
The cast members had input because
everybody has done a lot of research
on their characters. The show evolved
as we went along."
Set in the 1960s, when the celebrat-
ed performers were in their 40s, the
musical has the hit songs of the times
as linked to each of the singing stars,
such as Sinatra's version of "Fly Me to
the Moon," Martin's "That's Amore"
and Davis' "What Kind of Fool Am
I?" The jokes recall happenings from
the past and also bring up today's
"I watched every bit of footage I
could find on these people so that I
could get a feel for the interaction and
the humor," explains Hackett, who has
performed in a Michigan theater as the
opening act for Paul Anka and at the
Michigan State Fair as the opening act
for Little Richard.
"We've tried to stay away from actu-
al impersonations in favor of giving
the essence of what these people were
like. Although they did a lot of racial
material directed toward Sammy, it's
no longer acceptable and has been
taken out of the show."
Tom Tiratto, who has sung in ven-
ues across the country, takes on the
role of Sinatra. Tony Tillman and
Doug Starks, who also have appeared
on stages around the U.S., portray
Davis — Tillman June 7-12 and
Starks June 14-July 3. Andy DiMino,
whose experience ranges from Las
Vegas clubs to a TV movie, plays
Martin, while Stacey Nicole, who
toured with Legends in Concert,
appears as Marilyn Monroe, often
linked to the Rat Pack.

Buddy's Son

Hackett knew he wanted to go on
stage from the age of 11, when he was
put on camera during his dad's taping
for a segment of the TV show Laugh-
In. Although discouraged by his father
because of the uncertainty of club
work, Hackett pursued a stage career
after getting a degree in hotel manage-
ment at the University of Nevada.

Sandy Hackett is Joey Bishop in
"The Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey
Dean"• "We've tried to stay away from
actual impersonations."

While studies prepared him for the
business side of entertainment, his dad
ultimately prepared him to go in front
of audiences. The two toured together
for 10 years, with the younger
humorist opening for the one with
"I learned everything about comedy
from my dad," says Hackett, whose
wife learned about music from her
dad, Ron Miller, a former Motown
songwriter whose credits include "For
Once in My Life," recorded by Stevie
Wonder. "My dad taught me how to
stand onstage, how to hold a mike,
how to walk and how to talk.
"I've worked for so many Jewish
crowds, especially in the condo circuit
in Florida, and I have used a lot of
Jewish-slanted humor. Years ago, I got
called to do a show in Waco, Texas, at
a Jewish temple, and that was an
Hackett, who took his bar mitzvah
seriously, came up with the idea for
the Rat Pack production after a movie

was made about Sinatra's role in get-
ting John Kennedy elected president.
He was motivated to learn more about
the Las Vegas entertainers after talking
to Bishop, the only surviving member
of the group.
"With young people enjoying the
talents of Michael Buble and Harry
Connick Jr., who both are crooners,
they're going to love watching an
enactment of how that style originated
with Sinatra," says Hackett, who over-
sees Sandy Hackett's Comedy Club
and The World's Greatest Magic Show,
both at the Las Vegas Greek Isles
Hotel & Casino, where the Rat Pack
show is performed. "People of all ages
love that kind of music, and it's being
used on television and in films. It's
just timeless."
Even with his current preoccupa-
tion with Bishop, Hackett still brings
his dad into his career. A recording of
the senior Hackett's voice plays into
The Tribute, and the son is about to
imitate dad as Scuttle in The Little
Mermaid for a promotion celebrating
the 50th anniversary of Disneyland.
"It's an honor to be at this Detroit
theater as the Nederlanders begin to
manage that space," Hackett says. "We
have a meet-and-greet with the audi-
ence after each show, and we're look-
ing forward to speaking with the
Detroit crowd." 0

The Tribute to Frank, Sammy,
Joey & Dean runs June 7-July 17
at the City Theatre, 2301
Woodward, Detroit.
Performances are at 8 p.m.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.
Sundays and 2 p.m. Saturdays
and Sundays. $19.50- $39.50.
(313) 872-1000.

Rat Packer Wannabes

The producers of The T-ibute to Frank, Sammy, Joey Dean will hold open
auditions 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at Detroit's City Theatre for all roles of
the national touring cast of this theatrical, musical play about the legendary
Rat Pack.
Interested, professional performers should arrive dressed in 1960s period
attire as the character they are auditioning for: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis
Jr., Joey Bishop, Dean Martin or Marilyn Monroe. All characters should be
portrayed as they were at the age of about 40 years old.
Auditionees should be prepared to perform in character a minimum of
one song and a maximum of three. However, anyone auditioning for the
role of Joey Bishop will also be asked to deliver a clean comedy monologue
of 3-5 minutes.
All auditionees must provide their own music (CD format) to play on
house equipment. Aspiring stars must bring a resume and two photos — one
in character and one of themselves. For additional information regarding
auditions, please call (313) 832-2232. Li

24•99 each

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