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When Sinatra comes alive virtually

Eight years after Frank Sinatra?s death, daughter Nancy wants her father to tell his story through a Virtual Sinatra musical.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 18:06 IST
HT Style

Frank Sinatra was mocked for his seemingly interminable comebacks. Now cutting-edge technology and the backing of his daughter Nancy mean Ol’Blue Eyes is ready for yet another final curtain, this time from beyond the grave. Almost eight years after the singer’s death, Nancy is determined to let her father tell his story in his own words.

With a mixture of family home movies and 21st century technology, a Virtual Sinatra musical does just that on multiple giant screens at the London Palladium theatre where he first appeared in 1950. Nancy, who flew in for Wednesday’s premiere of the £5-million musical, said: “There is nothing that would make one feel that it is ghoulish.”

Virtually, Sinatra

“Maybe perhaps sad because he is not here and you’d see this and say ‘Gee I wish he was still with us’,” said the singer who famously duetted with her father on Somethin’ Stupid and had her biggest solo hit with These Boots are Made for Walkin.

Home movie footage from the Fifties has been restored for the London show with a 24- piece live orchestra and troupe of dancers accompanying the giant on-screen Sinatra.

The Sinatra family, keen to avoid the tacky imitators that followed Elvis Presley after his death, took advice from Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla on the best way to handle his futuristic retrospective. “Elvis has been gone for so long. They have had a head start on how to do this, this keeping of the flame and the legacy,” Nancy said. “Poor Elvis. The real Elvis has been virtually abused in a way over the years. We don’t want Frank to become a caricature,” said Sinatra who starred alongside Presley in the 1968 racing car movie Speedway.

“We would rather have Frank speak for himself which is what is happening with this show. People will get to know him through his music.” Nancy, 65, believes that her father’s London show, which has already taken £2 million in advance bookings, could be copied by others on stage.

Biopics like the Johnny Cash drama Walk The Line and the Ray Charles story Ray have won Oscars and have also enjoyed box office success. “I would imagine there will be others who want to do the same thing,” she said of the London production, a fully-honed version of a commemorative celebration show first unveiled in 2003 at New York’s Ra- dio City Music Hall.