Celebrating his 100th birthday, the most lavish tribute to Frank Sinatra is the ticket of the season.
In the 1980s, when Steve Wynn owned the Golden Nugget hotel-casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, he booked Frank Sinatra for a long run as their headliner. The duo’s cheeky commercials became classics and also solidified their fast friendship. In one of the ads, Wynn strides through a suite at the Golden Nugget of Las Vegas, where he meets Sinatra and introduces himself. “I run this place,” he says. Whereupon the Chairman of the Board pushes a bill into the hotel owner’s hand and says, “Make sure I get enough towels.” Wynn’s tagline: “The Golden Nugget: All this and Frank Sinatra, too.”
Produced by Ken Ehrlich and AEG Ehrlich Ventures, the Recording Academy, and CBS, the concert will feature tributes to one of Vegas’s favorite entertainers by Tony Bennett (a Sinatra contemporary and close friend), Garth Brooks, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Adam Levine, Carrie Underwood, and Usher. The performers will be joined by a 30-piece orchestra under the direction of Dave Loeb, the music director for Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers, and employing the arrangements of Sinatra’s hand-picked conductors: Nelson Riddle, Don Costa, Gordon Jenkins, and Quincy Jones. The Sinatra family has allowed the original charts to be used for this all-star show, the only televised marking of the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth (December 12).
“Frank Sinatra is timeless,” Wynn said in the introduction to the book Sinatra 100 by Charles Pignone, one of the country’s leading Sinatra authorities. “He stood for intelligent music and arrangements, along with the ultimate in integrity, glamour, and class. That is his legacy. Not a day goes by that I don’t listen to his music. His recordings are the soundtrack to our lives.”
In putting this concert together, Wynn’s personal bond with Sinatra has undoubtedly been reinforced. From 2010 to 2011, Wynn presented the show "Sinatra: Dance with Me," a series of dance numbers choreographed by Twyla Tharp with music by a live orchestra playing to Sinatra’s recorded voice. Some of the classics in that show will be heard again in the new concert, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “My Way,” and “That’s Life,” only this time with some of Sinatra’s musicians playing live. “The family has asked that we use musicians who played with Frank,” Loeb says. Those lucky enough to secure tickets will get to enjoy all of this and Sinatra, too—or at least his spirit.