The Rat Pack started performances at the Haymarket on 11 March 2003 and last month extended its season there by five weeks to 24 May, when it must close to make way for the RSC transfer Brand, starring Ralph Fiennes, which runs for 14 weeks from 4 June to 30 August 2003 (previews from 29 May).
Prior to its initial West End transfer, The Rat Pack had been touring the country since 2000, previously visiting London for one-off dates at the London Palladium and a limited run at Sadler's Wells. A Haymarket spokesman told Whatsonstage.com had proved a huge hit for the theatre: "We've had a fantastic response and the audiences seriously love it."
Set on a night at The Sands hotel in 1960, The Rat Pack shows Frank, Dino and Sammy performing a parade of cool classics like "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Witchcraft", "That's Amore", "That Old Black Magic", "My Way" and "The Lady is a Tramp" to the accompaniment of a live 15-piece Big Band and a full supporting cast.
Currently at the Strand Theatre, Joseph Kesselring's classic Broadway comedy Arsenic and Old Lace is due to finish on 21 June 2003, the end of its extended booking period. The production - which stars Thelma Barlow, Marcia Warren, Stephen Tompkinson, Rupert Vansittart and American Michael Richards (of Seinfeld) fame - opened on 25 February 2003 (previews from 14 February).
- by Terri Paddock