Stargazers Theatre

Stargazers Theatre performance May 6, 2016

Sinatra “Come Dance With Me!” Show with The Trip Ziegler Quartet

Stargazers Theatre performance February 27, 2014
(Scroll down for July 14 performance)

Here was an opportunity to do three things I’ve dreamed of for years.

(A) To bring my two-hour Sinatra Tribute Show to my hometown of Colorado Springs

(B) To perform that show with a great group of musicians. In this case, the Front Range Jazz Lab Big Band, made up of members of the Air Force Academy Falconaires. All very cool cats!

(C) And then to have that concert at one of the hippest venues around. That being the Stargazers Theatre.  Stargazer Theatre

This beautiful post card-like town, where I spent some of my formative years, is situated under Pikes Peak, and home to the Olympic Training Center, the spectacular Broadmoor Hotel, and of course, the Air Force Academy.

So it turned out that opportunity smiled upon me when I met one of the former players and arrangers for the famed Air Force Academy Falconaires. That talented gentleman is retired Sargent Cully Joyce. We agreed that it would be great bit of fun to bring Sinatra to Stargazers, and since they had done a Christmas show there, and knew the owner, John Hooten, I got in touch with him, dropped Cully’s name, and we put the ball in motion from there.

This hip venue, which was one of the original twenty-eight Cinerama Domes built in 1969, has hosted many national, as well as popular statewide acts. For this special evening, John took out the floor level seats and replaced them with dinner tables covered in fine linen cloth, along with some palm trees, and a full bar for the patrons. It really gave the place a feeling of what the Sands Hotel was like!

The weather on that opening night in February was chilly, but over three hundred folks braved the elements, and settled in. The band kicked off the show with Count Basie’s “April In Paris”, then Cully gave me a great introduction, and I stepped to the mike with the fast swinging “Get Me To The Church On Time.” The audience’s response after each number was enthusiasti.  I gave the band a rest here and there with stories of Frank and his pals, which I learned later was a big hit with everyone. We went through about two dozen of Sinatra’s signature songs, and after an encore, the band closed the show with the Rat Pack’s Count Basie arrangement of “One O’Clock Jump.”

The reaction among patrons after the show, and around town since then has been really wonderful. I’m happy to say that we’re due back July 19th to reprise this celebration of “the man and his music” with a ring-a-ding-ding evening of swinging’ fun… Sinatra style!
In closing, I want to say that John and Cindy Hooten are two of the nicest, smartest, and hardest working people in the business, and with their skilled help and cooperation, the event came off beautifully.

Thanks guys!!



Rick Blessing at the Stargazers TheaterFor my second Sinatra Tribute Concert on that fine summer’s evening at Stargazers Theater, I brought along a six foot, five inch cardboard standup of Frank’s famous “Pal Joey” pose with the raincoat hanging over his shoulder. It was placed just inside the doorway, so that everyone would see it. Well as it turned out, as people filed in, I was told they almost all had to have their pictures taken beside O’l Blue Eyes!

This eye catching novelty was a generous donation to me from the owner of one of the oldest liquor stores (which I frequently patronized) in Greeley, Colorado. .. Thanks Tad!

Now in the week that proceeded this show, the guys in the band had just gotten back from an east coast tour in Washington D.C. (with their other very famous group, the Air Force Academy Falconaires) and were rehearsing for yet another upcoming tour. With all that, they still found time for a rehearsal, and proceeded to blaze beautifully at this second “Sinatra’s Swingin’ Summer Concert”.
For this time around, I picked out a half dozen different Sinatra signature songs, and embellished a routine I love using, where a girl rolls a liquor cart out onto the stage in the second half of the show. I then proceeded to demonstrate the way Frank prepared his favorite drink of Jack Daniels on the rocks, with “two fingers” of water. * As a foot note, his pally Dean would often describe the act of making a drink as “having a salad”, or “making a sandwich”.

When the magic concoction was ready, I invited the audience to raise their own drinks, (they’d purchased from the full wet bar at the side of the stage) and offered them several toasts in English and Italian, all in good fun between various jokes and humorous anecdotes. That touch of Rat Pack history never fails to make everybody feel they are a part of the act, .. and it’s a kick in the pants!

Again, with the help of owners John and Cindy Hooten’s great promotional and organizational skills, the evening was another wonderful success, and so, has afforded me the opportunity to become a little more closely tied to the Colorado Springs community. .. I love this town!