A New York television staple for years, Bill Boggs will make a rare foray onto the stage as he joins the cast of Off-Broadway's Our Sinatra, June 5-24. A jack of all media trades, Boggs has been a news anchor, talk show host ("Midday Live with Bill Boggs") and sports show host for ESPN. His current show is "Bill Boggs' Corner Table" on The Food Network.
According to Our Sinatra spokespersons at Origlio Public Relations, Boggs not only has a singing credit on his resume (he appeared in the revue "This Must Be Love" at the St. Regis Hotel), he did a prime-time, one-hour TV special interviewing Old Blue Eyes himself.
Boggs joins current cast members Karen Oberlin and 17-year-old pianist/vocalist Peter Cincotti in the musical revue, which boasts more than 50 songs made famous by the Chairman of the Board. The show continues at "The Reprise Room," a new performance space in the restaurant Dillon's on West 54th Street. A sleeper hit at the Blue Angel Theatre since Dec. 8, 1999, Our Sinatra played its last show there Aug. 12, 2000 and moved to the Reprise Room the next night. The 140-seat Reprise Room (somewhat smaller than the Blue Angel) had never been used as a performance space. The show remains under a standard Off-Broadway contract.
Our Sinatra, officially opened Dec. 19, 1999. Supervised by Richard Maltby Jr. (Fosse, Ain't Misbehavin') and directed by Kurt Stamm, the performer-conceived production is a tour of some 50 songs (full tunes and medley versions), from "Witchcraft" to "Time After Time" to "These Foolish Things," and more.
The show's co-producer, Scott Perrin, also produced the long-running Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know. Our Sinatra started as an August 1999 cabaret show (seen at the famed Algonquin Oak Room), conceived and then-performed by pianist Eric Comstock, vocalists Christopher Gines and Hilary Kole. Stamm and Maltby helped shape this version, making some cuts and adding a couple of different tunes. Stamm told Playbill On-Line (Dec. 8, 1999) that the production celebrates some of the lesser-played Sinatra works, rather than ubiquitous hits such as "New York, New York."
"We're steering clear of the stuff that is so cliched," said Stamm at the time, "but there are hints of the hits in some places. It's more about digging in and finding the hidden gems, finding the orphan songs that weren't known until he recorded them." Consequently, listen for "These Foolish Things," "To Love and Be Loved," "Without a Song" and "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?"
Stamm, who is an artistic associate of Maltby's, first heard the trio when popular song historian Jonathan Schwartz recommended the performers for a Maltby-directed tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen in the Lincoln Center "American Songbook" series in October.
Designers for Our Sinatra are Alan Moyer (sets), Jeffrey Nellis (lighting) and Matt Berman (sound). Expect tuxedos and an evening dress for costumes. Producers are Jack Lewin and Scott Perrin.
Tickets to the show, which was embraced by critics in its earlier form, are $50-$80. When Comstock took a recent two-week vacation, cabaret vocalist Billy Stritch filled in.
The Blue Angel is at 323 W. 44th St. in Manhattan. Call (212) 239-6200 for tickets to the show at either venue.