Darin, the rocker-turned-crooner who reigned on the music charts from the late 1950s through the 1960s, will be reborn in the person of Chaz Esposito. The show, also directed by Esposito, will play at The Theatre at Saint Peter's. Opening is June 22. The project is co-created by James Haddon, who provided musical direction and arrangements.
The title cites Darin's biggest hit, a swinging, finger-popping version of Brecht and Weill's Threepenny Opera anthem, which became a surprise number one smash for the singer in 1959. Darin was a musical chameleon, known for his ever-evolving musical style. He began as an early rock and roller and teen idol, charting with such hits as "Splish Splash" and "Dream Lover." Following "Mack the Knife," he reinvented himself as a nightclub stylist in the mode of Sinatra, striking gold with such jazz-inflected numbers as "Beyond the Sea" (familiar to theatregoers as one of the tunes used in Contact). Later in the '60s, he tapped into the folk music craze with "If I Were a Carpenter."
Darin was also an actor, appearing in "State Fair" and winning an Oscar nomination for "Captain Newman M.D." He had his own television series on NBC from 1972 to 1973. Always dogged by medical problems and a bad heart, he died in 1973 of septicemia. He was 37.
Mack the Knife will feature many Darin tunes. Esposito will be backed by Larry Frenock and a nine-piece band. Darin's estate has endorsed the show.