Review: REVIEW: DINO! AN EVENING WITH DEAN MARTIN at Milwaukee Rep

This show runs through March 19, 2023.

By: Jan. 23, 2023
Review: REVIEW: DINO! AN EVENING WITH DEAN MARTIN at Milwaukee Rep

The Milwaukee Rep's Stackner Cabaret is transformed into a 1970s nightclub by the smooth, low-key charm of "Dino! An Evening with Dean Martin." It's the same suave tone that made Dean Martin a star for the better part of five decades. As Martin, Tally Sessions channels that spirit, weaving stories from the star's life together with some of his signature hits - as well as some deep cuts.

Dean Martin was born Stuebenville, Ohio, to immigrant parents and eventually become a star on stage and screen and in night clubs - the last as part of the fabled Rat Pack, along with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Savis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. "Dino!" covers all these career highlights over the course of the evening.

The show is set in a Milwaukee nightclub during a blizzard, where Martin is stuck without most of his band and much of his audience. He uses the opportunity to get personal with the remaining stalwart audience members by sharing a bit of the man behind the star.

Sessions, an able crooner in his own right, wisely shys away from an outright Dean Martin impression. Rather he delivers an interpretation of the "King of Cool," and shines in his role as host and storyteller.

A veteran of a number of Broadway productions and touring companies - as well as TV and film appearances ( "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Falling Water," "Elementary" and "Burning Man."), easily connects with the audience in the intimate setting of the Stackner throughtout the evening, closing each act with a sing-a-long of a Dean Martin classic.

The show also sparkles when Sessions banters with music director PJ Ju, the one band member who made it through the blizzard and accompanies Sessions on the piano and guitar.

Tales of Martin's life serve as the backbone of "Dino!," and include memories of his childhood and youth in Steubenville, two of his three marriages, and his time with Jerry Lewis and the Rat Pack, his movie career and popular TV show.

These stories are linked by the songs that made Martin a legend - including "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," "Everybody Loves Somebody," "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You", "Marshmallow World" and That's Amore" - as well as couple of the more unexpected covers that Martin recorded - Roger Miller's "King of the Road" and Al Jolson's "Toot, Toot, Toosie, Goodbye."

Pictured: Tally Sessions and PJ Ju. Photo by Michael Brosilow




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