Darin tribute offers tuneful good time

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Ritz audience was treated to a splishin' and a splashin' good time Tuesday night when Ron Lan'Gel and his talented group of performers presented a musical tribute to Bobby Darin.

The show kicked off the Greenville Area Arts Council's (GAAC) season.

Lan'Gel shared more than 30 tunes recorded by Darin during his career, which spanned the late ‘50s, ‘60s and early ‘70s. The versatile performer died from complications stemming from congenital heart problems when he was just 37.

Comedian/impressionist Pat Lewis appeared as George Burns, who welcomed the performer back to earth for one last performance.

Video clips of Darin's appearances on American Bandstand, his shows at New York City's Copacabana and his heyday in Las Vegas were interspersed with routines by energetic back-up singers Rossana Parodi and Maribel Diaz, and dancers Augusto Ramos, John Culbertson, Stacey Perez and Rochelle Fereira.

Louis also gave an amusing performance showcasing his gift for impressions, imitating Hollywood luminaries such as Sylvester Stallone, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart.

The tried-and-true comedic routine &#8220Who's On First,” popularized by Abbott and Costello, also proved a crowd-pleaser when performed by Louis and his dummy &#8220pal.”

The dancers and singers' colorful costumes helped capture the glitz and glamour of Darin's show biz career.

Following the 90-minute show, audience members got to mix and mingle with cast members, who signed autographs and posed for photos.

Greenville's Colin MacGuire was delighted to find himself between a velvet-clad singer and a showgirl in sequins and fur.

&#8220Now this is alright,” MacGuire said with a grin.

GAAC members enjoyed a dessert party following the performance in the Ritz reception rooms flanking the theater lobby.

Coming up in the GAAC season is the Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest, slated for downtown behind the Ritz Theatre on Oct. 28; &#8220Urban Cowboy,” February 19, 2007 and &#8220Camelot” April 3, 2007.