Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: A NIGHT AT THE SANDS Immerses You Into the Rat Pack Reign in Las Vegas

Ever since I was dazzled by Creating Arts Studios production "Thenardiers Inn" which well-deservedly went on to win the 2015 Hollywood Fringe award for best cabaret and variety show, I wait with anticipation for their next totally immersive theater experience, knowing it will be like no other. It was true for their "The Experiment Cabaret" and I was not disappointed when I walked into the world famous Sayers Club in Hollywood, transformed into the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas during the reign of the Rat Pack in their current celebratory piece entitled "A NIGHT AT THE SANDS" - A Vegas Musical Cocktail With an L.A. Twist.

You are greeted at the door by costumed characters from the show, with Lucy working the line to try and get a seat inside. Walking in, the room is hopping with Ricky Ricardo (Musical Director Dan Sugi) banging away on his conga drum and keyboards while Playboy bunnies escort you to your seat. It's just the place to grab a drink at the bar (age 21+ for this show) and sit back to enjoy the hip atmosphere, especially when Ella Fitzgerald drops in to warm the room with her soulful stylings.

As always, the cast works the room by moving around within the audience, often calling upon those seated in front to come up onstage and participate in numbers. Or perhaps you will be lucky enough to have Marilyn Monroe sit on your lap! Whatever way you are asked to play along, just go with it.

With a rockin' house band that expertly performs all types of music, the show begins with Ricky pounding out "Babalu" before introducing Sammy Davis, Jr. (J.F. Thomas) whose heartfelt rendition of "I Gotta Be Me" was enhanced by brilliant lighting which highlighted every act perfectly. He was then joined by the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra (James Brewster), for a duet on "Me and My Shadow." Their cheeky banter continued throughout the production, making the show feel all the more real and spur-of-the-moment.

Frank admits he had no luck at the tables and then called on audience member Claire to blow on his dice, which led him into a rousing rendition of "Luck Be a Lady" accompanied by the sexy Copa Room Girls. Frank introduced Dean Martin (Paul Elia), appropriately perched on the bar in the back of the room, ever-present drink in hand. Totally resembling the fabled singer, Elia got the audience laughing with his rendition of "When You're Drinking" rather than smiling, and then "Bourbon From Heaven" instead of pennies!

All three of these impersonators have mastered the posing, smirking, sex appeal and attitude of the stars. And when they are joined by Joey Bishop (Max Lichtig) and Peter Lawford (Justin Klosky), the Rat Pack show takes off!

Soon the boys learn from cigar-wielding Swifty Lazar (Lee Marshall) that the casino's been hit and they're taking the fall, but with the help of their entourage they just may cash out without giving it all to the house. Making appearances to help the boys are Shirley MacLaine (Elizabeth DelloRusso), Janis Joplin (Dani Inks, who joins in from the audience, identifying herself as Pearl before her joyfully rockin' "A Piece of My Heart"), Marilyn Monroe (Katie Self), Tina Turner (Adrienne Brown), Lucy Ricadro (Choreographer Julia Lisa), Johnny Cash, Cher (Cassandra White), Audrey Hepburn (Haynie Walker) and Ella Fitzgerald (Hadiyyah Smith), each of whom entertains to perfection. And of course the Copa Room Girls dance the night away atop the bars around the room, dressed as either feather-adorned Showgirls or Playboy Bunnies. Even Meyer Lansky (Jack Stroud) can't stop the fun with his demands for money from the boys!

So sit back and perhaps drink away your troubles as you descend into the sex, power and stylings of old-school Vegas in this original, fictional tribute to legends of entertainment that is an immersive, interactive experience that will transport you back to the Rat Pack Glory Days. I guarantee you will be ready to sing along with the boys and their entourage to "That's Life" which sums up their whole outlook on dealing with whatever comes their way. As Frank Sinatra says, "We are going to LIVE till we die" so let's just party on!

CAC Studios presents "A NIGHT AT THE SANDS" - A Vegas Musical Cocktail With a L.A. Twist, written and directed by Shannon Sukovaty (who portrays one of the Showgirls). Performances take place at The Sayers Club, 1645 Wilcox Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028, through December 19, 2015 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm. Show runs for two hours with one intermission. Age 21 and up only. Admission is $40 per seats with VIP Reserved Seating Available. Tickets via phone (310)804-0223 or online at

The Rat Pack

The Copa Room Girls

Rikcy Rcardo and the Copa Girls get the place cockin'

Tina Turner ((Adrienne Brown) rocks the house

Cher (Cassandra White)

the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra (James Brewster). Photo by Shari Barrett

Dean Martin (Paul Elia). Photo by Shari Barrett

Shirley MacLaine (Elizabeth DelloRusso) Photo by Shari Barrett.

"That's Life" - Photo by Shari Barrett

Photos: Go Inside THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS 50th Anniversary Celebration Photo
The cast and crew of CBS and Sony Television’s THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS celebrated the 50th anniversary of daytime’s #1 drama at an exclusive event on Friday, March 17, in Los Angeles at The Vibiana. Check out the photos here!

Photos: Go Inside Opening Night of TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 Photo
On March 15th, “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” opened at Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum. Playwright Anna Deavere Smith attended and posed with the cast, along with director Gregg T. Daniel, creative team members and special guests. Check out photos from the opening here!

Photos: THE MAN IN A GREEN SUIT Premieres in Los Angeles Photo
FYC Independents and the Van Nuys/Reseda Elks Lodge hosted 'The Man in a Green Suit' Premiere on Friday, March 10, 2023 in Los Angeles. Check out photos here!

Review: THE LONELY FEW at The Geffen Playhouse Photo
Zoe Sarnak’s score rocks. It sounds at times like Blondie or the B-52s (I like the B-52s so that comparison is not a dig here), but is so intrinsically connected to the emotional arch of the story being told that it soars like a musical theatre score should.

From This Author - Shari Barrett

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in secondary sc... (read more about this author)

Interview: Ben Donenberg, Graham Wetterhahn, And Sara Beil On THE TEMPEST: AN IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCEInterview: Ben Donenberg, Graham Wetterhahn, And Sara Beil On THE TEMPEST: AN IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
March 17, 2023

As a fan of Shakespeare and immersive theatre productions, I was intrigued when I heard that The Shakespeare Center LA and After Hours Theatre Company were set to present the premiere of The Tempest: An Immersive Experience, a fully reimagined audience-participation performance based on William Shakespeare's tale of family members caught up in a storm and shipwrecked on an isolated Mediterranean island. So I decided to speak with the production's director Ben Donenberg, Shakespeare Center LA Artistic Director, Graham Wetterhahn, the Producing Artistic Director at After Hours Theatre Company, and Sara Beil one of the producers for After Hours who created the immersive design, about their vision for an immersive way to include audience members in the experience of Shakespeare's tempestuous play.

Interview: Co-Directors Jeremie Loncka And Rich Loya On (IM)MIGRANTS OF THE STATE At The Actors' GangInterview: Co-Directors Jeremie Loncka And Rich Loya On (IM)MIGRANTS OF THE STATE At The Actors' Gang
March 17, 2023

For seventeen years, the teaching artists of the Actors’ Gang Prison Project have been creating transformational opportunities for incarcerated men and women. Their latest workshop production, (Im)migrants of the State, is performed by an ensemble of their alumni with over 240 years of combined incarceration who have found their way to freedom and now want to share their stories with audiences. I decided to speak with its co-directors, Jeremie Loncka, who also serves as the Director of Programs for the Actors’ Gang’s Prison Project, and ensemble member Rich Loya, about their vision for the project and how it came into being with the two of them at the helm.

Interview: Director Paula Kelley On Neil Simon's LITTLE ME Musical At Manhattan Beach Community Church TheaterInterview: Director Paula Kelley On Neil Simon's LITTLE ME Musical At Manhattan Beach Community Church Theater
March 13, 2023

The soon-to-open production of the Neil Simon musical Little Me at Manhattan Beach Community Church Theater (MBCC), the longest running theater in the South Bay since 1956, is directed by Paula Kelley with choreography by Angela Asch. Originally scheduled to open in the Spring of 2020, I decided to speak with the director about the production’s three-year delay and how she envisions presenting a musical full of comic vignettes featuring such a large cast, especially since it was written specifically for Sid Caesar to play multiple roles as all the heroine’s husbands and lovers.

Interview: Mitch Hara Talks Revamped MUTANT OLIVE 2.0 at the Hudson Guild TheatreInterview: Mitch Hara Talks Revamped MUTANT OLIVE 2.0 at the Hudson Guild Theatre
February 26, 2023

Back in 2015, I caught a solo performance play Mutant Olive, created and performed by Mitch Hara. I decided to speak with him about his revamped play, Mutant Olive 2.0, soon to begin performance at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood, to ask about the new show, it’s title, and what’s been going on during the 8 years since Mutant Olive in its original form premiered.

Interview: Kari Hayter on Directing TICK, TICK... BOOM! at International City TheatreInterview: Kari Hayter on Directing TICK, TICK... BOOM! at International City Theatre
February 11, 2023

BroadwayWorld spoke with Kari Hayter, a professional director and educator based in Southern California, who is directing tick, tick… BOOM! for International City Theatre in Long Beach, running February 17 through March 5, on her vision for the production and how its themes speak to not only artists but everyone reaching to achieve their dreams.