Although it’s now all modern skyscrapers and 21st century design, Las Vegas is also the place for some of the best entertainment nostalgia from the 1950’s and 1960’s, if you know where to find it. The Crown Theater at the Rio is just such a place.
Nothing quite conjures up that time period better than the popular casino lounge acts of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop. They were among the first entertainers to headline in Las Vegas back then, and there are still not many performers today who can quite evoke the romantic notion of that period better than the “Rat Pack.”
The Rat Pack was a group of famous, hi-jinks-loving friends who would frequently show up “unscheduled” when one of them was booked to perform. It was always a special treat for audiences at their shows, including those at one of their most popular stomping grounds, the Sands Hotel Copa Room. The marquee on the hotel sometimes even proclaimed, “Dean Martin – Maybe Frank, Maybe Sammy!”
Attempting to reinvigorate the feel-good ‘ole days of an earlier Las Vegas, the Rio currently features a production entitled, “The Rat Pack is Back.” In this modern-day act, the romance and fun of a lost era is performed by four talented showmen who beguile us with songs and patter that originated with the legendary Rat Pack.
If you loved the originals, you will not want to miss an evening of music and jokes with this group of impersonators. Each of the performers assumes the appearance and persona of the original celeb, with delightful charm and skill. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the new Rat Pack has definitely succeeded.
Mickey Joseph doing “Joey Bishop” takes center stage as the announcer and greets the audience with a round of rapid-fire old jokes. Although most are super corny, the sheer speed and fun of them elicits loads of laughs from the crowd.
Drew Anthony as Dean Martin is excellent. Anthony looks uncannily like Dean Martin, and spends the evening with his trademark cigarette in one hand and martini glass in the other. Mimicking Dean’s characteristic swagger and playfulness, Drew treats us to songs like “You’re Nobody ’Til Somebody Loves You," “Volare,” “That’s Amore,” and others that Martin made famous.
As Sammy Davis, Jr., Kenny Jones sings and dances up a storm with “That Old Black Magic," “The Candy Man” and “Mr. Bojangles.” Kenny makes all the right Sammy moves, playing along with jokes from his friends and making many colorful clothing changes.
When Brian Duprey comes onstage, it's almost like you are up front and center for an actual Frank Sinatra gig. Looking remarkably like the young Sinatra, Duprey perfectly captures Old Blue Eye’s mannerisms and phrasing in speech and song. Crooning some of Frank’s standards, Brian is smooth as silk with “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” and “Luck, Be a Lady Tonight.” Concluding the act, he delivers powerful renditions of Sinatra’s classic favorites, “New York, New York,” and “My Way.”
The foursome is backed by the splendid 12-piece Lon Bronson All-Stars, with each musician giving an enthusiastic performance, evidenced by visible joy and zeal for the act.
The night we were there, the audience was packed, predominantly with Baby Boomers and even older folks who were loving every moment of the 90-minute show, likely thinking of a different era and perhaps better times.
The Rat Pack is Back takes us back for a special visit with four notable American entertainers. The impersonators give an outstanding performance, with their first-rate crooning and snappy repartee, such that, if you closed your eyes and just listened – you could believe that Dean, Joey, Sammy and the Chairman of the Board… Frank Sinatra were actually there, performing onstage. The Rat Pack is Back is a worthy tribute to the iconic Rat Pack.
Before the show, taking advantage of a terrific deal, we had dinner at the Carnival Buffet. Guests can get Golden Circle Show tickets, which are the best seats and a feast of a dinner at the Carnival World Buffet for $115. And so you don’t forget the night, you also get a The Rat Pack is Back souvenir T-Shirt.
The Carnival Buffet is well known around Las Vegas for the variety and display of its sumptuous buffet stations. With something like 300 different dishes available daily, including mounds of crab legs and shrimps, slabs of roast beef, turkey, and pork, along with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, and vegetarian specialties, there are also usually 70 varieties of homemade pies, cakes and pastries, and 9 gelato flavors. Everything here is made from scratch everyday. If it sounds delicious, it is. We know!
Considering the edible largesse, the Carnival Buffet is a bargain by itself at around $28 per person. But by choosing The Rat Pack is Back package, you also get to enjoy an incredible taste of nostalgia for a long gone, but beloved era in Las Vegas history.
The Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino
The Rat Pack is Back
3700 W Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103
Golden Circle Show and Carnival World Buffet - $115. Includes the show and seating in theGolden Circle(best seats), dinner at the Carnival World Buffet prior to the show and a Rat Pack is Back T-Shirt.
Golden Circle Admission Show - $95. Includes show in theGolden Circle(Best Seating) and a Rat Pack is Back T-Shirt
VIP Admission Show - $73. Includes show in the VIP (Second Best Seating) section.
General Admission Show - $62. Includes 1 show in the General Admission section.