Exploring a Musical Legacy: A Talk With Frank Sinatra Jr.

Some people have famous parents … and then there’s Frank Sinatra Jr.

 Sinatra Sings Sinatra – The Centennial Celebration, a song-filled multimedia tribute to Frank Sinatra by his son, Frank Sinatra Jr., is at The Smith Center on Saturday, June 20, for one night only. Tickets are available now but are going fast for this wonderful show!

Long before Elvis, the Beatles or Michael Jackson became pop culture icons, Sinatra Jr.’s father — Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra — became the greatest music star in the world. This year, 2015, marks 100 years since “Ol’ Blue Eyes” was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. Sinatra Jr. is celebrating his namesake’s tremendous entertainment legacy with a one-of-a-kind tribute show, Sinatra Sings Sinatra – The Centennial Celebration.

Speaking earlier this spring from the Kitano, a New York City hotel fittingly well known for its jazz club, the entertainer discussed creating the celebratory performance. “I’ve been writing this show for two years,” Sinatra Jr. said.

Sinatra Jr. developed Sinatra Sings Sinatra not only for his father’s longtime fans, but also for legions of music lovers who are just getting to know “The Voice’s” vast songbook. “We will be exploring the legend for a new generation of people who have heard the name ‘Frank Sinatra’ but repeatedly ask what significance his presence ever had,” he said.

The show begins in the late 1930s, when Sinatra Sr. sang with Tommy Dorsey’s and Harry James’ big bands. In those early days, he was becoming a crooning heartthrob for throngs of teenage bobby-soxers. “This is where we begin the story, when his career began to germinate,” said Sinatra Jr. The musical time machine quickly moves on to explore Sinatra’s 60-year repertoire and features an orchestral band containing members that toured with him, as well as a host of Las Vegas’ finest contemporary musicians.

Beyond selecting classic songs such as “Luck Be A Lady” and “Strangers In The Night,” Sinatra Jr. was also something of a museum curator for the show. “We are adding audio-visual elements. There will be images, both still and moving, to connect to the actual musical calendar of the pieces as they go by,” he said.

Sinatra Sr. was intricately linked with Las Vegas, of course. The superstar headlined here regularly from 1951 to 1994. Like father, like son, the younger Sinatra has decades-long ties to this neon metropolis, too. “The first time I ever worked Las Vegas was in 1963, fifty-two years ago. In those days I was doing four shows a night at the Flamingo,” he said.

Sinatra Jr. says he looks forward to his return visits to Las Vegas, such as for Sinatra Sings Sinatra. “There is always that inherent excitement going back to play Las Vegas,” he added.

Whether Sinatra Jr.’s audience members can recall hearing his father on the radio in the 1940s or have just recently started streaming vintage albums like In the Wee Small Hours and Ring-a-Ding-Ding!, he’s aiming to explore the source of one man’s exceptional fame with them.

“We’re hoping people leave not only being pleased and entertained, but informed,” Sinatra Jr. concluded.

Story by Greg Thilmont

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