Thursday, June 30, 2016

Beyond The Fedora! A Chat With Sinatra Tribute Artist Gary Anthony & The American Trilogy Show

Gary Anthony 
Gary Anthony is a performer here in Las Vegas. A Frank Sinatra tribute artist to be more precise. I had the opportunity to come across his performance at the Italian American Club a couple of weeks ago. In a word, gifted. Frank Sinatra has a very precise way of singing and his crooning voice wooed many a lady in the day. So hearing Gary sing in exactly the same precise baritone and phrasing was exactly like sitting in a red booth at the Sands when Las Vegas was the Vegas of The Rat Pack. With this performer though there is more than meets the eye or what you hear. After talking with Gary it turns out that he has quite a background in performing. A background that dates back to the early 1970’s. Yes Gary started wooing with his voice when he performed with his brothers in the band The Allens. Along with these teen performances came the covers of Tiger Beat, and a slew of other teen heartthrob magazines. So performing has been a part of his life for quite a while.

But who is the real Gary Anthony? He can entrance you with his voice and make you smile with his jokes but this man remains a little bit of a mystery. When does a performer let his guard down and let you see the real person inside? Turns out that when this performer lets his guard down what is behind the performer is a genuinely very nice person who is quite the entrepreneur. His journey to the stage, off the stage and then back on the stage is fascinating. It includes rubbing shoulders with legendary Hollywood folks such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor. After The Allens went their separate ways Gary still stayed in show business in LA. He started off as being a DJ and his talent was soon spotted by a Hollywood insider. Bookings for private parties came his way quickly.

Even while being a DJ and being a father the desire to perform onstage as Frank Sinatra and bring a smile and some of the old magic back  to crooning never left Gary. He had started to perform in LA at the famed hot spot Nicky Blair’s as Frank. After that he had an epiphany or as he says “  I didn't want to be eighty years old and miss this passion that has been haunting me for years. I packed up my bags and moved to Las Vegas to fulfill a dream. The dream was to keep the spirit alive and pass it onto the generation of today .”  Saying goodbye to LA he arrived in Vegas ready to sing his way across the stages of the LV Strip.  

With hard work and perseverance Gary started to make his mark on Las Vegas. Sure there are plenty of Frank Sinatra tribute artists, but there are some really good ones and he became well known as one of the best. However there are two sides to his performance as he explained to me "Performing as Frank and performing as a tribute to Frank are two different things While being an impersonator the full character comes to play. Knowing his exact mannerisms, style, voice is exactly like being in a movie with me being entirely Frank all the way. When onstage as a Tribute artist I can inject a little of myself into the performance while keeping Frank's spirit alive. I can share stories of myself and Frank while providing the audience a feeling of his presence and spirit on the stage."

Every stage is home for Gary. He has performed all over the world even in Egypt! Yes he  brought the magic of the Rat Pack to the hot sands of the Middle East. And when asked where he feels the most at home onstage "Anytime on a stage, is home, however when you have a twenty to thirty full piece orchestra and more than 3,000 smiling faces watching you, that's a mansion!"

Everyone knows the adage if you want something done then you better do it yourself. Well not only has Gary taken this advice he has built an entire business around it. When the corporate bookings started, he was asked questions such as do you know an Elvis impersonator, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator? So naturally with the entrepreneur mindset he formed his own entertainment booking agency. A one stop shop for artists, sound equipment and engineering and that is how Major Entertainment Production, Inc was formed. At the request of any client the agency can provide anything you need entertainmentwise.          

American Trilogy Performance


Fast forward to July of 2016 and a major show is right around the corner. The show is;    “American Trilogy - An American Tribute To Three of The Greatest Icons in American History” which will take place at The South Point Casino and Hotel on July 2nd - July 3rd. Who are the the three icons? Taking the stage as  Frank Sinatra is Gary Anthony and Neil Diamond is Rob Garrett and of course Elvis is portrayed by Justin Shandor. This will be the tenth show that this talented trio has put on together. The show started as an idea that Rob Garrett had, he thought what would a show of been like with these iconic performers. It was an idea that was put down onto paper that was then transferred to a script that was a process that both Rob and Justin worked on collaboratively. There have been tweaks along the way but what you will see this coming weekend is a show that has been well thought out and runs smoothly.

As an audience we are never really privy to what goes on behind the scenes or what brings the finished product to the stage. I had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal of this show. What is surprising is what to me sounds fine, in fact needs to be tweaked. Tweaks such as; slow down the drum tempo, cues on when to start and stop, slow down the tempo of the music. And yes there was talk regarding chords and bridges.  Remember this is a show that they have all performed before but practice makes perfect. The camaraderie between these performers and their band is contagious and you can tell that this is an enjoyable experience for all.

Rob Garrett
Rob Garrett is a familiar face to many a Las Vegan. When he was singing in another band people remarked on how closely his voice resembles Neil Diamond's voice. He put together a Neil Diamond tribute show. In the beginning people would attend the show to hear Neil Diamond's voice and songs now they attend to hear Rob Garrett’s rich baritone voice. If you spend even five minutes talking with Rob you will find a sincere grounded performer that enjoys and is passionate about each and every show. After all why else would he be The 'King of Diamonds', America's #1 Neil Diamond Tribute Artist!

Justin Shandor
Rounding out the trio is Justin Shandor as Elvis. He currently performs in “Million Dollar Quartet”  at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Being in Las Vegas, you can literally find an Elvis on every street corner. This Elvis is special, he has won several prestigious awards for his Elvis performances including; 2013 Excellence In Entertainment ~ Elvis Impersonator of the Year 2013 Heart of the King Award, and the 2010 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champion. His Elvis is a truly remarkable recreation of such a legendary performer.



This show promises to be quite the hot ticket in Las Vegas. Wait until you hear this trio's version of my favorite song “Viva Las Vegas.” I predict that this version will electrify the audience and spread excitement like wildfire. Don’t be late in getting your tickets because last year they sold out and this year’s tickets are going fast!

 After the show what is in store for Gary Anthony? More entrepreneurial enterprises and a trip to my favorite town Boston.

 “American Trilogy - An American Tribute To Three of The Greatest Icons in American History”
South Point Casino & Hotel
July 1st - July 3rd
7:30 pm
Tickets - www.ticketmaster.com/search?tm_link=tm_header_search&aid=1061348&user_input=american+tri&q=American+Trilogy
9777 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89183
(702) 796-7111

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