The 'Rat Pack' is indeed back and they are playing live at the Crown Theater inside the Rio, Las Vegas! Well, the mirror image of performers are. As far as I am concerned, they never left. They are dead on beat, right down to the step of Sammy Davis unforgettable, signature walk. The performers took to the stage with Luck be a Lady to open the show:
“A lady never leaves her escort
It isn't fair, it isn't nice
A lady doesnt' wander all over the room
And blow on some other guys dice”
This tribute to the rat pack was a feeling of nostalgia. I never saw the real Rat Pack myself, other than pictures and television. To be up close and in front of Thursday night performers couldn’t be any closer to the real deal. In fact, I got lost in the realness of the performance, jokes, singing and their engagement with the audience. A special performance by Marilyn Monroe captivated everyone with her “Happy Birthday” song. I give this show a five star rating because It gave me a five star performance. There were moments I wanted to jump from my seat and dance with Sammy. Songs sang such as; The Candy Man and Bojangles brought back memories of a time I was signing it and had no idea who it was. This experience was putting a face to a time. I was left with the lyrics of “That’s Life”
That's life, that's what people say.
You're riding high in April,
Shot down in May.
But I know I'm gonna change their tune,
When I'm right back on top in June.
They performed together, drank together, hung out together, and the press couldn't get enough of them. At first they were called the Clan, over heavy protests. Sinatra said, "It's just a bunch of millionaires with common interests who get together to have a little fun." Bishop frowned: "Clan, Clan, Clan! I'm sick and tired of hearing things about the Clan. Just because a few of us guys get together once a week with sheets over our heads..." Sammy Davis, straight-faced: "Would I belong to an organization known as the Clan?"
The Rat Pack is remembered for their style, their irreverent humor, their boozy and fleshy private lives, and their leader's occasional thuggish arrogance. But in their time they meant something else too, something that had everything to do with the expectations and aspirations of their audience. The key was ethnicity and the special role it played in postwar America.
The Rat Pack show, unlike pre-war entertainment, featured -- even flaunted -- race and ethnicity. Bishop, dressed as a Jewish waiter, warns the two Italians to watch out "because I got my own group, the Matzia." The night JFK showed up ringside, Dean picked Sammy up in his arms and held him out to the candidate: "Here. This award just came for you from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People." Sammy: "I'm colored, Jewish, and Puerto Rican. When I move into a neighborhood, I wipe it out." (Max Rudin)
The Rat Pack was a group of actors originally centered on Humphrey Bogart. In the mid-1960s it was the name used by the press and the general public to refer to a later variation of the group, after Bogart's death, that called itself "the Summit" or "the Clan," featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop; they appeared together on stage and in films in the early 1960s, including the movies Ocean's 11,Sergeants 3, and Robin and the 7 Hoods (in the latter film, Bing Crosby replaced Lawford). Sinatra, Martin, and Davis were regarded as the group's lead members. (Wikepedia)
Often, when one of the members was scheduled to give a performance, the rest of the Pack would show up for an impromptu show, causing much excitement among audiences, resulting in return visits. They sold out almost all of their appearances, and people would come pouring into Las Vegas, sometimes sleeping in cars and hotel lobbies when they could not find rooms, just to be part of the Rat Pack entertainment experience. The Rat Pack's appearances were of unprecedented value because the city would always become flooded with high rollers, wealthy gamblers who would routinely leave substantial fortunes in the casinos' coffers.
It was a delightful beginning of the end to Thursday nights list of things to do in Vegas. I would highly recommend this show to anyone visiting Vegas. The show plays nightly at Rio Crown Theater 3700 W Flamingo Road Las Vegas, NV 89103
It was Wayne Bernath, Director of Publicity and Marketing for The King's Room & The Crown Theater at The Rio; who provided accomadations for this show. To him I say thanks and I will likely watch it again.