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BWW Review: THE RAT PACK LOUNGE at Connecticut Cabaret Theatre


BWW Review: THE RAT PACK LOUNGE at Connecticut Cabaret Theatre

On Saturday, October 20, I had the pleasure of seeing yet another first-rate show at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin, CT, THE RAT PACK LOUNGE. James Hindman and Ray Roderick wrote this highly entertaining musical comedy that tells a fictional story about Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr., while highlighting their music, with musical arrangements by John Glaudini. Director Kris McMurray has yet again brought together the perfect cast for the show, and helped bring out the best in their individual and collective talents.

On piano, Nathaniel Baker leads the talented live band that also features Jordan Brint on bass and Tim Urso on percussion. The band goes beyond accompanying the actors' singing, and furthermore become fictional band characters with whom the main characters interact with within the show, as if the fourth wall is not merely broken with the audience, which it is, but also with the band.

The set depicts the Rat Pack Lounge featuring memorabilia from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. The lounge gets renovated during intermission to become a more modern stage within the stage, for the second act. Sound effects of thunder enhance the show. Technical Designer James J. Moran also provides the cast with excellent choreography throughout the show.

The story is that Vic (Nick D'Angelo), who owns the Rat Pack Lounge, but never succeeded as a singer has become suicidal. The spirits of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. have been sent down from Heaven, to inhabit (possess) the bodies of three men in the Rat Pack Lounge, with the command to convince Vic not to kill himself, with the high stakes of the rest of their eternal destination depending on their success. This theological poetic license yields a fascinating fictional premise that creates a spectacular show.

We see a continuation of the tight stage chemistry that Jon Escobar, Jayson Beaulieu, and Rick Bennett displayed when they appeared together in "Life Could Be A Dream," as they now play the characters who are inhabited by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr., respectively. They all do an amazing job harmonizing with each other, and mimicking the voices, vocal tones, mannerisms, and traits of their respective Rat Pack members. Along with Nick D'Angelo who also has an excellent singing voice, they do justice to every number they perform, whether as individuals, duets, trios, or all together.

Kristin Iovene who has recently starred in "The Queen Bees," excels in the role of Katherine who gets inhabited by Angie Dickinson's spirit. Kristin Iovene is remarkably believable in both of these two characters who have very different personalities and different accents. She also has an amazing singing voice.

"My Way," "Young At Heart," and "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime," are among the most enduring and well-known songs included in the show. There is also a brief parody of part of "That's Amore."

A comedic highlight is when Rick Bennett as Sammy Davis, Jr., spot on impersonates the voices of various celebrities including Louis Armstrong, Katherine Hepburn, and Julia Child.

The audience also enjoyed some cameo spoken voice (from off-stage) appearances by Kris McMurray and James J. Moran.

I highly recommend THE RAT PACK LOUNGE which is scheduled to continue to run at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre, in Berlin, CT every Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 P.M., through November 3, 2018. For tickets, please call the box office at 860-829-1248.

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From This Author Sean Fallon