Rival Rat Pack Reopens West End Whitehall, 18 SepDate: 20 August 2003
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 14 Jul 2003), the Nottingham Playhouse production of Rat Pack Confidential will transfer to the West End next month. On 18 September 2003 (previews from 16 September 2003), the show will re-open London's 650-seat Whitehall Theatre, which owners Ambassador Theatre Group closed "indefinitely" on 12 July 2003, at the end of the 30th anniversary run of Abigail's Party (See News, 26 Jun 2003).
Not to be confused with The Rat Pack - the tribute concert compilation show, with look-alikes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr crooning cool classics, that's now packing them in at the West End's Strand Theatre after a successful run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket - Rat Pack Confidential is the stage play, adapted by Paul Sirett from the controversial 1999 group biography of the same name, written by American journalist and chronicler Shawn Levy.
In addition to the aforementioned trio, the play encompasses lower profile Rats Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop and explores the group's connections with both the Kennedys and the Mafia, as well as a swirl of film stars, hookers, narcotics and lots of booze. Rat Pack Confidential tells the group's story, while also featuring a live band and a clutch of famous period tunes like "Come Fly With Me", "The Lady Is a Tramp", "Let's Face the Music and Dance", "Volaré" and "My Way".
Rat Pack Confidential returns this month to Nottingham Playhouse, where it premiered in September 2002 (See News, 8 Aug 2002), for nine performances only from 21 to 30 August 2003, prior to its West End transfer. The five-strong cast of actor-musicians features Richard Shelton as Frank Sinatra, Alex Giannini as Dean Martin, Paul Sharma as Sammy Davis Jnr, Robin Kingsland as Peter Lawford and Kevin Colson as Joey Bishop.
The production is directed by Playhouse artistic director Giles Croft and designed by Mark Bailey, with lighting by Jeanine Davis, sound by Paul Stear, choreography by Sam Spencer Lane and musical direction by John Morton. It's presented in the West End by Ed Crozier and Matthew Gale, in a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse and Bolton's Octagon Theatre.
- by Terri Paddock