A lively North Platte audience clapped, waved and sang along Saturday night to the music of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. at the Fox Theater.

The producer, Tony Ocean, first put together his tribute show to the great entertainers in the mid-1990s, and he brought the standards of Martin, Sinatra and Davis to life. Ocean portrays Martin. Bill Serritella and Elliot Wimbush portray Sinatra and Davis, respectively.

The trio started the show with Luck Be A Lady and the audience of about 400 clapped along from the beginning.

Mixing jokes, chatter and music, the trio belted out such songs as Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, Got the World on a String, Summer Wind and Fly Me to the Moon.

They sang solos. They sang together. They sang as duos. And, as the show went on, they shared a few history notes with the audience.

Ocean pointed out that Martin’s song, Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime, knocked the Beatles off the No. 1 spot in the U.S. charts. The Beatles song was A Hard Days’ Night in 1964.

They sipped drinks and cracked jokes, some sexual, some racial, harkening to the days of the 1950s-60s. They traded good-natured jabs and shared the fun with the enthusiastic audience.

Songs in the second half included One for My Baby and One More For the Road, I Gotta Be Me, That’s Amore, Welcome to my World and New York, New York.

Wimbush received extra applause for his dance moves on That Old Black Magic and Mr. Bojangles. He told the audience that Sammy Davis didn’t initially want to record Mr. Bojangles because it would be stereotypical, but later decided to do it as a tribute to the dancers who never danced their way into the big time.

After the three of them performed The Lady is a Tramp, Ocean had a brief heart-to-heart with the audience. He said there will never be another Frank, Dean or Sammy, but people will always share their love for music.

Then, they took turns singing the verses of My Way, changing the words to “Their Way” out of respect for their predecessors.

The audience gave them a standing ovation.

Afterwards, they mixed and mingled with people in the aisles and the lobby, talking, laughing and posing for pictures. Some of Bill Serritella’s family lives in North Platte and said they had an especially good time.

The show was produced by Josh Windle of Family 1st Productions, who arrived in North Platte late last year with the intention of bringing more live music to the North Platte area.

Next, Windle will produce a four-band lineup March 25 at the D&N Event Center with a variety of country music bands, plus North Platte’s blues rock phenomenon Jack Bunger and his band, the Pros.  

Tap on images to enlarge. Photos by George Lauby. 

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