For the past couple years at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa in Las Vegas, Deana Martin has been working with her quintet doing her tribute show to her father Dean Martin. This time around, Martin is premiering a completely new show, “Deana Martin’s Big Band Swing,” May 29-31.
Martin is backed by a swinging 18-piece orchestra and taking her enthusiastic audiences on a contemporary musical journey with new arrangements of lesser known songs from the “Great American Songbook” that have personal meaning to her.
For example, she opens with “Diga Diga Doo” co-written by her godfather James McHugh and first recorded in 1928. Midway in the show, Martin does “Memories Are Made Of This” that was a chart hit for her father in 1956 and brings three audience members up to sing backup. Often they are fellow entertainers that she knows. Keeping her make shift backup singers on stage, she floats through the audience singing her dad’s famous 1953 hit song “That’s Amore.” Later, one of the show’s special moments is when electronically she sings a duet of “True Love,” with her dad while family images are show on two big screens.
Hand picking tunes, Martin is covering music made famous by legendary superstars of the 20th century such as Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin, Dinah Washington and others, including her father and favorite “uncles” Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. With new arrangements, Martin and her big band also honor the renowned voices, composers and arrangers who crafted the soundtracks. Some other selections include: “Mr. Sandman,” “You’re Nobody,” “Strangers In The Night,” “Bye Bye Blackbird” and more of her dad’s hits “Ain’t That Kick In The Head” from the original “Oceans 11” movie and the theme song from his TV variety show, “Everybody Loves Somebody.”
Recently speaking to Martin from her home in Branson, Mo., she was elated over her new show and enjoys the whole process of putting it together. “The challenge keeps the mind going,” she said, “And it stops me from overeating thinking about fitting into my gowns (of which there are three new ones).” Note… she’s about the size of a toothpick and her new red spangled floor-length gown is truly a masterpiece.
With ease on stage, Martin shares many personal stories and rehashes old jokes that still make you chuckle. In her friendly style, after the show she meets and greets everyone who stays.
Martin’s shows at South Point are at 7:30 with tickets ranging from $30 to $40.