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Bringing back the ‘Rat Pack’ ‘Sinatra’ and friends take to the stage in New Rockford musical

The cast of “The Rat Pack Lounge” rehearses Tuesday for its upcoming musical at the Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts in New Rockford, N.D. The play features live renditions of 30 vintage Rat Pack songs, from “Volare” to “Young at Heart.” Submitted photo

Ol’ Blue Eyes is back, and so are Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. in the upcoming production of “The Rat Pack Lounge” at Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts in New Rockford, N.D.

The musical features 30 swingin’ tunes made famous by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack themselves, from “My Way” and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Come Fly With Me.”

“It’s almost constant music,” said director Elliott Schwab. “… it really kind of feels like this is a live Vegas show; the music is pretty much always going.”

The play takes the audience back to 1998, after Frankie, Dino and Sammy have all died and gone to heaven. Meanwhile, back on Earth, ordinary bar owner Vic Candolino Jr. is ready to give up on life and his failing Rat Pack Lounge, partly thanks to something Sinatra said.

So the three most famous members of the Rat Pack head back to Earth, occupying the bodies of three people in Vic’s bar and accompanied by a gal named Angie, to try to fix the situation.

“It’s not a drama, it’s a comedy,” said Schwab, who also plays Vic in the show. “… they teach Vic that life isn’t so bad, and it’s all worth living. It’s a good message.”

Meanwhile, Sinatra and the guys learn a bit about how ordinary people live compared to the stars they were when they were alive, Schwab said.

The small cast includes Alex Hovey as Sinatra, Tony Peterson as Davis, Joel Schock as Martin and Jacee Engels as Angie.

While the show would be appropriate for children, it’s got a laid-back tone to match the lounge music, Schwab said.

“We’re not saying kids won’t like it, but we’re not sure what kids will think of it,” he added.

The group has been working on “Rat Pack” for about a month and will have intense rehearsals for the next week before the show opens.

Nineteen performances have been scheduled between July 16 and Aug. 10. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays between those dates. The Aug. 4 performance will also be a 2:30 p.m. matinee. All the shows will be at the Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts in New Rockford.

To purchase tickets, which are $25 each, call (701) 947-2174 or visit www.dprca.com.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453                   or by email at klucin@jamestownsun.com

Kari Lucin

Kari Lucin joined the Grand Forks Herald as a multimedia producer in August 2014. Previously, she worked for a few years at the Jamestown Sun in Jamestown, N.D., as a staff writer, and prior to that, for about six years as staff writer and later online content coordinator, at the Daily Globe in Worthington, Minn. A graduate of Jackson County Central High School and Augsburg College, she has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and English. Find more of her writing at her blog, Oh Look, a Shiny Thing! or on Twitter at @karilucin.

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