Shades of Sinatra – A Tribute to the Music and Career of Frank Sinatra
“Shades of Sinatra” is a tribute to the music and career of Frank Sinatra, but rather than an impersonation of the man, its cast members instead create unique characters that celebrate him in their own ways, often drawing on experiences from their own lives. The show features most of the signature Sinatra tunes that one would expect, as well as several that may be new to casual fans. Between songs and poignant stories, there is plenty of zany humor and good-natured ribbing among the cast, creating a vintage, off-the-cuff Vegas show atmosphere that is associated with Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Originally created in early 2005, “Shades of Sinatra” was the brainchild of Vegas entertainer Kelly Clinton, who assembled three male singers that were heavily influenced by and who loved to sing Sinatra’s songs. She got the idea upon hearing the three of them arguing over album release dates and other Frank trivia. Clinton realized that putting singers from different backgrounds (and generations) together onstage to talk about their love of Frank Sinatra would create an interesting dynamic as a setting in which to sing some of the most beloved popular songs in history.
The three male leads have been singing for years at restaurants, lounges, and corporate events, with highlights including Ryan Baker’s 2005 engagement at the Artisan Hotel, Larry Liso’s 2006 run at The Westin and Carmine Mandia’s portrayal of Frank in the Greek Isles Rat Pack tribute show. When Lisa Smith joined the show in 2006, she was a welcome female element, as her character brings not only humor and sexual tension, but a real musical spark as well, with her extensive theater background.
“Shades” had its first show in the Stirling Club at Turnberry Place in Las Vegas, starring Baker, Liso, and Mandia, not to mention producer Clinton getting in the act. Over time, the show moved to the Bootlegger Bistro, where it has enjoyed much of its success to date, consistently filling the room to capacity. Since then, the act has been hired at several other local venues, as well as private and corporate events both in and out of Las Vegas. In 2007, the show won the award for Best Tribute Show from the Entertainment Consumers’ Exchange.
Most recently, the Shades finished up a run at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, getting rave reviews and building on their loyal following of fans. The show, produced by Ed Mathews and Kelly Clinton, included a talented five-piece band led by the terrific Ned Mills. In October 2007, the Shades had the opportunity to open for the one and only Don Rickles at the Golden Nugget, also in Vegas. Don Rickles was so impressed with Shades, that he has continued to have them open his Las Vegas shows at The Orleans Showroom.
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