Return of the Rat Pack in Aspen
The Aspen Times
IF YOU GO ...
What: Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: The Wheeler Opera House
Cost: $65 per ticket
For more information: 970-920-5770 or visit aspenshowtix.com
Proving the apple doesn’t fall from tree, seven years ago, Sandy Hackett — son of legendary comedian and longtime Aspen resident Buddy Hackett — and Lisa Dawn Miller — daughter of renowned Motown songwriter Ron Miller — teamed up to produce a musical and theatrical performance that recreates the experience of a 1960s Rat Pack show.
Hacket and Miller debuted the production at the former Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 2009 and have been on tour every Broadway season since, performing hundreds of shows across the country from September to May.
This Saturday, the husband-and-wife duo brings Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show to town for the first time.
Hackett grew up coming to Aspen from the time he was an 11-year-old boy until reaching his mid-30s and brought Miller for her first visit a few summers ago.
The two say they love Aspen and are thrilled to return — this time giving town a taste of the Rat Pack experience.
Gena Buhler, executive director of the Wheeler Opera House, said she is thrilled to be bringing the show to Aspen.
“The creative team and performers are industry veterans, and Aspen has a great woven history with Sandy’s dad, Buddy Hackett,” Buhler said.
Buhler added that this past December would have marked Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday.
“The timing of bringing this show to Aspen just made sense,” Buhler said.
Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show includes current comedy and dramatic musical arrangements to create “really funny moments that make you laugh and others that make you cry,” Miller said.
The premise of the show is that God sends the original Rat Pack back to Earth to perform one last show, though instead of them being back in the ’60s, the show is set in the present day, Miller said.
Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show recreates what it would have been like to see those legends — Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. — back onstage during their prime.
“Our show is about bringing that magic back to stage,” Miller said.
Miller said both her and Hackett’s connections to the Rat Pack is what sets the show apart from other tributes.
“Everybody across the country wanted to see them at the time,” Hackett said of the original Rat Pack, including politicians and Hollywood stars like John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. “It was the hottest event that had ever been in Las Vegas for 30 years.”
Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show also includes two songs that Miller’s father wrote but never released.
Miller discovered the original lyrics to “Will I Still Be Me?” and “Wasn’t I A Good Time?” buried in a box at home after her father died in 2007.
Miller said she feels very fortunate to be able to honor her father, who “always inspired her to be the best she could be,” especially in terms of her creativity and her vision.
Hackett, who’s entertained audiences across all mediums — including stand-up comedy, film, television and theater — said his father influenced him greatly as well.
“My father was America’s funniest comedian for half a century,” Hackett said. “He had more performances on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Johnny Carson than any other comedian.
“My dad thought funny. And he worked hard, and he played hard,” Hackett said, adding that, “when he played hard, he loved to come to Aspen and ski.”
The Aspen Choral Society (ACS) announced its 47th Annual Presentation of Handel’s “‘Messiah,” taking place on Friday, Dec. 8, at the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Saturday, Dec. 9, at TACAW in Basalt, and Sunday, Dec. 10, at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Glenwood Springs.