Rat Pack is Back in Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Rat Pack is Back in Beaver Creek

Charlie Owen
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyThe Las Vegas show "The Rat Pack is Back" comes to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. In the show actors portray Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop while singing and dancing to old Rat Pack tunes.

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” The Rat Pack ” composed of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop ” existed in a time when smoking and drinking was cool, womanizing wasn’t yet politically incorrect and wearing a tuxedo was the height of style.

They still seem glamorous today, with their breezy swagger and friendship immortalized in film and recordings for a new generation. What made them so cool though?

“I think it was their charisma together, their ability to interact between each other and just the humor that each one of them had,” said Edwards resident Judy Countryman. “You put them all together and they were hilarious. They just had a magic about them.”

But those were different times. What would happen if the Rat Pack came back to our time? What would they say? How would they act? That’s the essence of what Sandy Hackett, writer, producer and actor in the Las Vegas show “The Rat Pack is Back,” tries to capture with his show.

“The show is as if you stepped back in time to see them in their prime in 1960 but we also take a lot of modern day stuff and put it in the show. What would it be like if they came back today, in their prime?” Hackett said.

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“The Rat Pack is Back” has been running for eight years in Las Vegas but makes its way to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek for the first time Wednesday night.

Judy and her husband Keith said they will attend the show and are anxious to see what it’s all about. Having seen Sinatra and Davis Jr. perform before in person, it’s safe to say their expectations will be high.

“I think it’s fantastic, all that (the Rat Pack) did, their music and everything we love and follow,” Judy said.

Hackett plays Joey Bishop in the show, Frank Sinatra is portrayed by David DeCosta, Sammy Davis Jr. is played by Kenny Jones and Dean Martin is played by Drew Anthony. Sandy is the son of legendary comedian Buddy Hackett who was good friends with Joey Bishop.

From his earliest years as a child, Bishop was a part of the younger Hackett’s life. The show was hatched after Hackett was denied a role in the 1998 HBO film “The Rat Pack.” Hackett didn’t like the portrayal of The Rat Pack in the film so he decided to create his own show to pay homage to Bishop and the rest of the guys, he said.

“I had the full endorsement of Joey,” Hackett said. “I interviewed him, I talked to him, he wanted me to play him, I have a letter from him licensing me and saying that I was his first and only choice to portray him. He knew me my whole life and he was the one who called me.”

Sadly, Bishop died in 2007 and none of the members of the group are alive today.

The show includes comedy, singing and dancing. It covers many of the Rat Pack’s biggest hits over various times in their careers.

“If you’re a fan of the Rat Pack, you’re going to get to see all the wonderful music, the great arrangements, listen to the songs. We always catch the audience by surprise with the comedic element of the show. It’s a very funny show. It’s magical in its music and funny in its comedy,” Hackett said.

If it looks like the actors portraying the Rat Pack are having a good time on stage that’s because they are, Hackett said.

“They were having fun and we have to recreate that,” he said.

Just because Hackett grew up around Bishop doesn’t mean it was easy for him to take on the role.

“I don’t think like Joey, I don’t talk like Joey, but after interviewing him, spending some time with him, watching him work, watching tapes of his performances, I could affect some type of performance that would remind us of him,” he said.

But Hackett said that doesn’t mean for one second the cast of “The Rat Pack is Back” believe they are actually the men they portray.

“But as actors in a show trying to recreate something and take you back, I think we achieve that successfully,” Hackett said.

What: “The Rat Pack is Back.”

When: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

Cost: Tickets for the show are $65, $75 or $85, depending on seating. Tickets for the pre-performance reception are $42.

More information: Call 888-920-2787 or visit http://www.vilarpac.org.

High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.

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