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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Rat Pack Live at the Sands

Finally, a reason to wear wing tips and a fedora again.

There once was a time when Vegas was stylin' and looking sharp was required. Now there's a chance to relive that Golden Era, at least for one night anyway...

The show spent four years on London's West End and invites audiences into an enchanted evening at the ever-famous Sands Hotel with the most famous crooners of our time - Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin. A live fifteen piece band and three back-up singers and dancers (Joanne Dalladay, Lucie Florenine, and Nikki Stokes) also perform on-stage in this recreation of old Vegas at its best.

Audiences will be treated to favorites like: "I’ve Got You Under My Skin," "That’s Amore," "Mr. Bojangles," and "The Lady Is A Tramp." The show 's director and choreographer is Mitch Sebastian and the show originated in London's legendary West End before it began touring Europe and then the US. Starring in the show are Stephen Triffett as Frank; Phil Barley as Dean; and David Hayes as Sammy Davis, Jr. The last of whom I had the chance to catch up with last week by phone.

A Portland Oregon native, David Hayes has been preparing for this role for nearly his entire adult life. Though not consciously at first, Hayes followed a career and life path that could hardly have landed him anywhere else - acting, singing, performing stand-up comedy, and studying the masters. David Hayes is Sammy Davis Jr. Okay, not it real life, of course, but instead on-stage in the current touring production of "The Rat Pack."

He's been touring with the show on and off for six years now, and he couldn't be happier. Hayes is a variety performer of the exact same ilk as the three performers in the show. He sings and dances as well as charms and amuses.

Edge: When you think about Sammy Davis, Jr., what comes to mind?

Hayes: I thought Sammy was a dynamic entertainer. He could do anything and he did everything great. He was my entertainment hero. My heroes in life are my parents.

Edge: How do you approach playing a legend like this?

Hayes: When you start out doing anything like this you look at the people, at the past. In this case, it all came out of vaudeville. These were natural actors. They didn't have classes back then. They learned on-stage.

Edge: Did you find the prospect daunting?

Hayes: It's like someone who plays baseball and they get to play for the team that Willie Mays played for.

Edge: Can you even believe this is what you get to do for a living?

Hayes: It's amazing how it's come to this, working with two fabulous performers. And I never thought I'd play the West End of London. I didn't even know what the West End of London was.

Edge: How did you come to get the part?

Hayes: I was looking for a monologue to do and I found this show. We exchanged emails and that kind of thing and I ended up auditioning.

Edge: What were you doing at the time?

Hayes: I had a lot of jobs. Three at the time. I was working at Safeway during the day, teaching acting for five hours after that, and then doing comedy at night. You gotta do what you have to do when you have a wife and kids and a mortgage.

Edge: Is the show scripted?

Hayes: It's scripted to some degree. But there's room for improvisation. We know where we're going. But how we get there, well, we could take a left turn or a right turn. There's lots of leeway for spontaneity. It's all about trust and the love of the two other performers. Someone may sneeze or say something and we work with that.

Edge: What's it like playing Sammy Davis, Jr.?

Hayes: It's really exciting to be able to play a man of his magnitude. I'm honored and humbled.

Edge: What's the trick to making it all work?

Hayes: It's all about the transformation when the hair is right and the clothes and make-up. Being committed to that and to the integrity required. What really makes the magic is the chemistry of the guys. You have to do it with love and trust and respect. And I say that with all humility. It's all about the people and the music and the history.

Edge: What can audiences expect when they come to the show?

Hayes: It's a history piece. If they did it, then we do it. Like having the musicians on-stage. They did it. So we do it. It's a re-enactment of Vegas. It's a feel-good show. You'll be transported back to the sixties when it was safe to drink and smoke and eat red meat. It's a politically incorrect show. It was 1960 not 2000.

The Rat Pack Live at the Sands

Majestic Theater

1925 Elm Street

March 4 -8 at 8:00pm with matinees at 2:00pm on the 5th, the 7th, and the 8th.

Tickets start at $12.00 and are available at,, or by calling 214-631-2787

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