This one man show, performed by the magnificent Richard Shelton, brings one back to the nostalgic, romantic time when nightclubs such as the Ruby Dunes and the Purple Room in Palm Springs reigned supreme. Starring Richard Shelton, who magnificently embodies the essence and aura of ‘ol blue eyes’ himself, the show “Sinatra: Raw” is set in the purple room at the luxurious Club Trinidad in Palm Springs. His tribute to the late, great Frank Sinatra is a love letter to this legend, especially comforting at this time of the coronavirus. His show, with soulful words and nostalgic stories down memory lane, reminds us of simpler, gentler times, when people hugged and sat together, cozy in cabaret lounges, not socially distanced through a zoom screen. Yet, even through this technological medium, we feel Richard’s passion clearly on display. His amazing ability to belt and croon Sinatra’s classic ‘oldies but goodies,’ like “Fly Me To the Moon,” and “My Way” transports the audience to another place in time.
Both singers’ (Shelton/Sinatra) enduring, romantic impact on their audience, in the heyday of the nightclub and thereafter, prove their timeless talent as entertainers. Richard Shelton perfectly portrays all things Sinatra, and brings showbiz royalty back to the stage, as we recall Sinatra’s lasting mark on American culture. Frank Sinatra is one of the greatest singer/actor of all times, with Richard Shelton doing him complete justice, bar none. Despite a love life filled with tumultuous romances and tawdry affairs, Frank’s songs were iconic romantic, evoking spark and sizzle. Shelton’s inflections, voice, smile, authentic American accent are all completely on key, with the precise cadence and understanding Sinatra’s words and moves, which were absolutely brilliant. He could take a simple song far beyond the surface. Sinatra’s ability to attract friends far and wide, from kings, celebrities, presidents, and the common folk speaks to his start from humble beginnings in Hoboken to the soaring height of ultimate fame and fortune. Richard Shelton is like Sinatra himself. He uncannily grasps each idiosyncracy of such an iconic figure, a daunting task indeed. This talented suave Englishman has taken upon himself an understanding of a legend as American as apple pie, with an impeccable, authentic portrayal.
The Wallis has gone above and beyond in honoring Frank Sinatra and his remarkable contribution to the great American songbook. The Sorting Room transforms itself into the Purple Room, as Richard not only sings, sounds, and looks like Sinatra, but his physical mannerisms and energy personify the legend as well. The beloved songs of the evening were: “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “A Very Good Year,” “My Foolish Heart,” “I’m A Fool To Want You,” “Angel Eyes,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” “That’s Life,” and “My Way.”
What a beautiful way to celebrate, remember, and be transformed to another place and time.