The Rat Pack – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

God has commanded that Frank, Sammy and Dean leave Heaven where they all currently reside to return to earth on a mission. Apparently Mr. Sinatra committed an unpardonable sin twenty five years ago and now he and his famous cohorts have to correct it. With your help and encouragement, the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin will be holding court weekends until Saturday, November 3 to determine in which direction God will force Mr.Martin, Mr, Sinatra and Mr. Davis. Jr. to go. Credit goes to James Handyman and Ray Broderick for “The Rat Pack Lounge”, with musical arrangements by John Glaudini, for this singing and drinking tribute to the Chairman of the Board and friends.

With a three piece band “Tommy and the Gang” behind them, this trio rocks the joint, a down on its luck bar owned by one Vic (Nick D’Angelo), the guy who was victimized those many years ago. Now on New Year’s Eve 1998, Vic is ready to end his life and God does not want that to happen. He sends a three unlikely guardian angels down to assure it doesn’t. To prevent Vic’s suicide, the men, who have taken over the bodies of guys who happened to be in the bar at the time, work to restore Vic’s confidence in himself and his musical talents, with Jayson Beaulieu as Frank, Jonathan Escobar as Dean and Rick Bennett as Sammy.

With appropriate formal wear, the requisite mannerisms and shtick, this dynamite team sings, dances and banters like the men they emulate. Their easy camaraderie on stage makes their performance a fun experience and crowns each of them as “kings of the road.” Gradually Vic catches on to their musical magic and is snapping his fingers and crooning like a champ. All along the way a blonde Kristin Iovene sashays in and out to guarantee their progress. Tunes like “High Hopes,” “Volare,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “My Way,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “I’ve Got the World on a String” and “Birth of the Blues” fill the lounge with great song, Kris McMurray directs this homage to the best crooners of the past in a show that has a theme like “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

For tickets ($34), call the CT Cabaret Theatre , 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at www.ctcabaret.com. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15 p.m. Remember this is cabaret, so bring goodies to share at your table or plan to buy them at the concession stand on site.

Gather around the bar and lift up a glass in tribute to the legends of Frank, Sammy and Dean who are living large again in the Rat Pack Lounge. Keep those champagne bottles popping.

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