‘The Rat Pack Is Back!’
What: A Las Vegas-style tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop, members of the 1960s Rat Pack.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Embassy Theatre, 121 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Cost: $28-$47.50, plus Ticketmaster fees.
Contact: Tickets available at the Embassy box office at 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., or at 424-5665 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, at Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Groups of 20 or more should call 247-3968.
Broadway at the Embassy makes a departure from the standard East Coast Broadway plays and instead will bring a live Las Vegas show to the Fort.
Experience the irreverent wit of Joey Bishop and the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. when “The Rat Pack Is Back!” plays Thursday at the Embassy Theatre.
Brian Duprey appears as Sinatra, Drew Anthony as Martin, Kenny Jones as Davis and Mickey Joseph as Bishop — complete with a big band.
“We're keeping in the same format of the 1960s,” Duprey said in a phone interview from his Las Vegas home. “You really get a mix of comedy, singing. The whole shooting match.”
The term “Rat Pack” originated in the 1950s when actress Lauren Bacall witnessed the return of her husband, the late Humphrey Bogart, and a group of his Hollywood friends from a wild night in Las Vegas and called them an “(expletive) rat pack.” Sinatra was “pack master,” and after Bogart's death, Sinatra continued with new members: Martin, Davis, Bishop and, for a time, Peter Lawford.
Duprey, who received $20,000 for his Sinatra performance on Fox TV's “Performing As,” joined the Las Vegas show in 2006 when the Sinatra performer left the group. “It was a show more tailored to me,” he said, because his voice matches Sinatra's from the 1960s.
“His peak singing years were in the 1960s,” Duprey said. “His voice lowered over the years because of the smoking and drinking. My voice is naturally baritone.”
He said as a kid he liked singing Journey, Neil Diamond and even Elvis Presley, but it was his mother who tuned him into Sinatra.
“I actually didn't buy my first cassette until my mom said something about my sounding like Frank Sinatra,” he said. “It became a funny pastime. Friends would come over and ask me to do Sinatra, so I would sing like Sinatra.”
He said the show is not an exact duplication of the 1960s version because jokes from that time period do not translate well for today's audience and this Rat Pack won't be boozing it up, but the audience can expect some improv.
“We're used to working with each other. You know what they're going to do before they do it,” he said. “It makes it easier to work on stage. Sometimes you go off script and then come right back on. You don't skip a beat.”
Duprey said he does no special preparation to get into the role of Sinatra because he has performed him for so long. “It's like an on-and-off switch. You're just in the mode,” he said. “I come off stage and back to being myself, a normal guy.”
When asked whether Sinatra's children had ever heard him, Duprey said during a 2007 episode of “The Howard Stern Show,” Stern played a recording of Duprey for Nancy Sinatra and she actually thought the recording was one of her father's.
“The Rat Pack Is Back!” performs six nights a week in Vegas' Rio Crown Theater. Substitutes fill in when the show goes on the road for special engagements like Broadway at the Embassy. The show is in its 14th year.
“Even though the show is for an older demographic, we have a lot to offer because of the entertainment value,” Duprey said. “People will hear the songs they really want to hear.”
The performers also will do a meet-and-greet with any audience members who stay after the show. “Not too many shows do that,” he said. “That's our way to say thank you and give back.”