Round Barn Theatre's 2018 season kicks off Wednesday

PHOTO CONTRIBUTEDThe Round Barn Theatre's 2018 season kicks off Wednesday with "The Rat Pack Lounge." Pictured in the front row, from left, are Greg Matzker as Vic Candelino and Randa Meierhenry, as Angie. In the back row, from left, are Bradley Keiper as Dean Martin, Jake DuVall-Early as Sammy Davis Jr., and Max Mattox as Frank Sinatra.

NAPPANEE — Frank Sinatra and his buddies were collectively known as "The Rat Pack."

Frank’s world comes to life again in “The Rat Pack Lounge,” created and conceived by Mitch Sebastian. The show depicts Frank, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., who have gone on to their much-deserved reward in heaven, but evidently have some unfinished business back on earth — an unfulfilled promise to take care of before they can truly rest in peace.

"The Rat Pack Lounge" kicks off The Round Barn Theatre's 2018 season with a six-week run that begins Wednesday at Amish Acres.

Typically the Round Barn season begins with what’s known as a "Jukebox Musical" — a show featuring popular hits, often golden oldies, Round Barn officials explained in a news release. But this show is more about an era, and the music has assumed a near mythic quality.

“There are a lot of differences,” said Artistic Director Amber Burgess. “It’s so jazzy. We’re going to have a jazz combo, piano, bass and percussionist. This is the Great American Songbook. These standards drive our whole culture.”

"The Rat Pack Lounge" script, Burgess said, has grown on her and the cast.

“I thought that this’ll be a nice show. But the second and third time I read it I began to realize just how funny this show is. It’s not just layering of plot on top of popular. The script tells a story beyond the Rat Pack. There are so many jokes based on Rat Pack banter, self-deprecating, so funny.”

Putting music and words together has been the key, she added.

“What we’re discovering in the rehearsal process is just incredible. There are moments that are very touching. I wasn’t expecting this when I read this funny script. I thought it would be fun, but we found so many special moments. During the first read-through some of us got misty-eyed,” Burgess said.

The Round Barn cast includes a mixture of old friends and new faces.

There’s Bradley Kieper, who plays the Dean Martin character, returning musical director Paul Rigano who worked on last year’s “The Little Mermaid,” and Randa Meierhenry, who plays Angie the Angel.

Paired with them are newcomers Greg Matzker, Jake DuVall-Early and Max Mattox.

“This is a great group of people. I’m thrilled to see where this journey is going to go,” Burgess said.

2018 LINEUP

This year's Round Barn Theatre lineup features seven upbeat Broadway and off-Broadway musicals, comedies and dramas. The season includes 280 performances from April 11 through Dec. 31. For more information, go online to www.amishacres.com/theatre.

• "The Rat Pack Lounge" — April 11-May 20

• "Plain and Fancy" — May 23-Oct. 13

• "Mamma Mia!" — June 6-July 15

• Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" — July 24-Aug. 26

• "Happy Days: A New Musical" — Sept. 4-Oct. 14

• "Lend Me A Tenor" — Oct. 17-Nov. 4

• "Annie" — Nov. 9-Dec. 31

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “The Rat Pack Lounge"

WHEN: April 11-May 20

WHERE: Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres, 1600 W. Market St., Nappanee

PHONE: 574-773-4188

ONLINE: www.amishacres.com

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