he dream lover is alive and well in the hearts of two Bobby Darin fans, our lead performers for the first FST Cabaret of the winter season, Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook. Backed by a full band, these two crooners sing their way through the hits and history of one of the greatest and most versatile performers of the 20th century. Our performers serenade the audience in the Court Cabaret, and the story of the superstar’s life and legend unfolds, proving his influence is still prevalent, even almost 45 years after his death.
“His desire for success never stopped him from being a genuine performer from humble beginnings,” says Associate Artist and Director Catherine Randazzo. “His clever renditions of songs put him on the song charts at an early age. That is the heart of this cabaret.”
As a genre-busting performer, Bobby’s career defied classifications as he transitioned with ease from rock & roll singer to Vegas lounge act to a Hollywood star and even a folk music activist. But no matter the creative outlet or musical style, Bobby was someone who was determined to leave his mark.
When Darin broke his first hits in the late ‘50s, he became a teen idol with more talent and command than many singers of the era. By the time “Mack the Knife” and “Beyond the Sea” topped the charts, Darin had solidified his place as an American figure of rock ‘n’ roll and big band music. The ‘60s rolled around, and Darin moved into Vegas showroom acts and later, onto the silver screen.
This crooner may have been more politically aware than the average nightclub act, covering tunes by Bob Dylan and participating in civil rights marches in the mid ‘60s. After a brief period away from the spotlight, the entertainer returned to Vegas in the early ‘70s, exchanging his blue collar for a blue tuxedo, and hosting a TV variety series.
In 1973, Darin passed away at the young age of 37, but he lives on in his fans, and in the many stars who owe their fame to his influence.
So why bring Bobby back now? Decades after his passing, Bobby Darin’s impact can be seen in such contemporary artists as Barry Manilow, Bryan Setzer, Harry Connick Jr., and Michael Bublé. All big band and jazz crooners of the modern era owe their popularity and charisma to the original Bronx boy who made it big. In 2004, Kevin Spacey played Darin in the biographic movie Beyond the Sea, propelling the ‘50s headliner onto 21st century marquees. This renaissance of jazz and swing and the resurfacing of Bobby Darin’s fame in the modern era is one of the reasons Florida Studio Theatre has brought Mack the Knife to kick off this year’s winter cabaret season.