In true Rat Pack style, Sinatra’s opening night was a black tie affair with the 2,300-seat London Palladium packed to the rim with celebrities and other glitzy guests. Amongst those in attendance were: Shirley Bassey, Peter Bowles, Tony Christie, Brian Conley, Clare Francis, Paul Gambacini, Guy Henry, Gloria Hunniford, Natasha Kaplinsky, Twiggy, Leigh Lawson, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sylvester McCoy, Helen McCrory, Joe McFadden, Paul Merton, Paul Nicholas, Richard O'Brien, Elaine Paige, Tim Rice, Michael Sheen, Ned Sherrin, Christian Slater, Harriet Walter, Frances Barber, Lucy Alexander and Victoria Wood.
Our Whatsonstage.com photographer was also on hand to catch the stars in their champagne-sipping finery as well as snap Ol Blue Eyes’ daughter, Nancy Sinatra, who joined the company on stage for the evening’s curtain call.
Created with the backing of the Sinatra family, Sinatra at the London Palladium features never-before-seen footage of the late American crooner projected onto giant screens. The video and photo clips are accompanied by a 24-piece live orchestra and big dance numbers performed by a 20-strong ensemble. An earlier version of the show – Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way – proved a hit at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The new London production is directed by David Leveaux and choreographed by Stephen Mear with musical supervision by Gareth Valentine.
Born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1915, Frank Sinatra became one of the most popular singers of the 20th century, as well as an Oscar-winning movie star. His many hit songs included versions of “Come Fly with Me”, “For Once in My Life”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “The Lady Is a Tramp”, “Mack the Knife” and, of course, “My Way”. With his 1980 recording of “New York, New York”, he became the first singer to have hit records in five consecutive decades.
Sinatra’s first-ever European performances at the London Palladium were a sell-out in 1950. He returned to the UK many times, including a concert at the Palladium in 1975 and the Royal Albert Hall in 1992. Sinatra died of a heart attack at the age of 82 on 14 May 1998.
Speaking at a press launch for the show last October See News, 26 Oct 2005), Leveaux told Whatsonstage.com: “This is not some earnest tribute or a biopic; it is definitely not that. It is just a celebration of Frank and it uses his own words to tell his story. He was a consummate professional, and there is nothing about his performances I would ever want to change.”
Sinatra at the London Palladium is presented in the West End by Running Subway, Act Productions, Nederlander International and Michael Gardner with Jack Utsick and Karl Sydow, in association with Sinatra Enterprises.
- by Terri Paddock
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