The Rat Pack Is Back

While enjoyable in spots, it doesn't capture the charisma of its inspiration

Last year's hit, The Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean, is back with a new name, a new director, and a short holiday-themed run. The night of carousing, boozing, ethnic joking, and yes, singing starts with the voice of God (a recording of the late Buddy Hackett) summoning the crooners back from heaven for one last gig here in San Francisco. It's essentially a recreation of Vegas circa early 1960, the legendary time when the boys spent the days filming the original Ocean's Eleven and the evenings downing cocktails and entertainingly interrupting each other's stage acts. While enjoyable in spots (Jonathan Poretz's rendition of Sinatra's My Way is solid), this incarnation doesn't quite capture the charisma and vocal power that immortalized these icons. The Rat Pack's decidedly off-color humor — which constituted most of its Vegas stage patter — has been toned down, but there are still jokes about molesting pigeons and shacking up with minors. Yet once the actors have warmed up their personas and their voices (the singing often gets drowned out by the 10-piece band) and the cocktail bar has been rolled on stage, the improvisational banter starts to click and the night becomes an agreeable, if nostalgic, trip to a different era. Nathaniel Eaton


Through Jan. 7 at Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter (between Mason and Powell), S.F. Tickets are $40-70; call 771-6900 or visit

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