'Ol' Blue Eyes' remembered by master impressionist
SHIPPENSBURG - Rick Michel, called by Variety, "the closest thing to Sinatra we have ever heard," brings a show focused on the music of Frank Sinatra to the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University Saturday, May 14.
In "Sinatra Forever," Michel both salutes and interprets Sinatra's work. A master impressionist for more than 40 years, Michel has been singing Sinatra’s music and has performed with big bands since the early 1980s.
"I think Frank Sinatra was the most articulate of all the pop and standard singers,” Michel said in a press release announcing the show. “He made songs his own by uniquely phrasing the words to wrap around the melody line like no one else before him or since.”
With so much material to draw on, Michel said, “I have tried to touch upon all aspects of Mr. Sinatra’s life by choosing a variety of music that best represents his career."
Michel's 22-song set will cover everything from Sinatra classics such as “Witchcraft” to even lesser known hits such as “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” from the musical “Guys and Dolls.”
“Sinatra Forever” has toured the country as well as internationally with performances in Canada, Mexico and Chile. More than half the members of the orchestra are musicians who played with Frank Sinatra.
Michel has shared the stage with many celebrities including Rich Little, Mickey Rooney, John Byner and Sherman Hemsley; opened for comics such as Bobby Collins, John Pinette, Rita Rudner and George Wallace; and performed impersonations for such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, President Gerald Ford, Tony Curtis and Steve Allen.
In 1994 he shared the spotlight with Rich Little, playing Bob Hope to Little’s Bing Crosby and Jerry Lewis to his Dean Martin. Little called Michel “one of the best impressionists around today.”
For Michel, a memorable highlight came when he performed his impression of Bob Hope for the comedic icon himself at the Bob Hope Celebrity Golf Classic in Palm Springs. He also made appearances in an episode of “Baywatch” playing a schizophrenic killer, and on “Entertainment Tonight,” “America’s Funniest People” and the “Larry King Show.”
In 1999, David Cassidy saw Michel performing his impression of Sinatra with a 22-piece orchestra and asked him to be the understudy for his show “The Rat Pack is Back” at the Desert Inn. He played the Sinatra, Dean Martin and Joey Bishop roles, and when the show moved to the Sahara in 2000, played Martin for its 25-month run.
Currently, Michel also produces his own show called “Drinkin’-Singin’-Swingin’ Salute to Frank Sinatra-Sammy Davis Jr.-Dean Martin” in which he plays the Martin role
In addition, he stars in his one-man show, “The Rick Michel Variety Show," and most recently wrote a Symphony/Pops Concert that celebrates Frank Sinatra’s life in “Frank…A Musical Journey.”
If you go:
"Sinatra Forever: Salute to Frank Sinatra"
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14
H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center
475 Lancaster Drive, Shippensburg
$39, $34, $29, $25
Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling the Luhrs Center Box Office at 717.477.SHOW (7469) or online at Luhrscenter.com.