BWW Review: CM Performing Arts Center presents THE RAT PACK LOUNGE at The Noel S. Ruiz Theatre
Admittedly, when Long Island's Noel S. Ruiz Theatre announced they were going to have a run of the musical The Rat Pack Lounge, I was a little bewildered. The show hasn't been on Broadway, this is the first time it is being done in New York, and, honestly, there wasn't much overall information about the production as I was researching it. However... Sammy Davis, Jr., Ol' Blue Eyes, and Dean Martin? Pass me a martini because I am sold.
Excellently directed by Kristen Digilio, the story, written by James Hindman and Ray Roderick, follows Frank, Sammy, and Dean - who have all passed on at this point in the tale - as they are on a mission from heaven (or, almost heaven) to help a man from committing suicide. They transport into the the bodies of some patrons at a bar where he works and hilarity ensues. Of course, all the while singing some of their biggest hits.
Besides, of course, the unsurpassed and iconic music, the stellar cast, made up of Noel S. Ruiz Theatre vets, is an added bonus to see this production. Rob Schindlar portrays Frank, Timothy J. Conway portrays Dean, and Dondi Rollins, Jr. portrays Sammy. All of them are excellent in their respective roles even well emulating the legend's mannerisms and shtick, but you'll also notice their subtle, modern takes on the roles. The man the Rat Pack is supposed to save, Vic, is strongly portrayed by Brodie Centauro. And a special kudos to Jessica Ader-Ferretti for a powerhouse performance as Angie. You'll maybe think - as I did - that having Angie would be a nod to actress Angie Dickinson who co-stared with the Rat Pack in the original Ocean 11 movie, but there is a twist on her purpose in the story.
The clever creative team is also top-notch. Patrick Grossman, Artistic Director of the Oakdale venue, designs the tavern set converting to a Rat Pack cabaret-like concert revealing the orchestra (usually positioned in the orchestra pit in front of the stage) on the stage for act two. And, of course the score is unmatched with some of the biggest songs in history including "My Way", Volare", "Come Fly With Me", "High Hopes" to name a few. The entire production is really visually stunning.
And so, The Rat Pack Lounge is certainly a hit for the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre. Iconic songs and a wonderful cast make this a fun night of theatre.
The Rat Pack Lounge is presented at the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre of Oakdale through September 29th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 218-2810 or visit cmpac.com
Written by James Hindman & Ray Roderick, Musical Arrangements by John Glaudini, Directed by Kristen Digilio, Musical Direction by Matthew W. Surico, Sound Design by Nicolette Carosi, Set Design by Patrick Grossman, Lighting Design by Alison Weinberger, Stage Management by TJ Smith, Costume Design by Ronald Green III
Starring Rob Schindlar, Timothy J. Conway, Dondi Rolling, Jr., Brodie Centauro, and Jessica Ader-Ferretti
Photo by Ashley Nicastro