Playwright imagines Dean Martin is stuck in New Jersey

Nat Chandler is Dean Martin.  Credit: Walnut Street Theatre
Nat Chandler is Dean Martin.
Credit: Walnut Street Theatre

“Memories are made of this,” sang Dean Martin, star of stage, screen and song.

A few memories of Martin with local connections are the foundation for the new show “DINO! An Evening with Dean Martin at the Latin Casino,” which previews tomorrow at Walnut Street Theatre.

The action takes place on the stage of the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill with Martin and a pianist. The rest of the band is stuck elsewhere in the midst of the Blizzard of ‘78.

“This event I kind of imagined in order to fit this idea that interested me,” says South Philly playwright Armen Pandola, who brought “The Prince” to the Walnut in 2010. “So many people like him have to reinvent themselves. When people become famous, there’s a public version of themselves and a private version. Martin was a very private person for such a huge star.”

What a star. In 1947, he teamed with comedian Jerry Lewis in Atlantic City to become the biggest showbiz draw of the era.

“They were huge,” Pandola says. “When they played the Paramount in New York, they broke records that were set by Sinatra.”

When Martin and Lewis broke up in 1956, the news rocked the nation. Martin was considered the lesser of the two talents, but he thrived out of Lewis’ shadow as a singing star (“That’s Amore”, “Everybody Loves Somebody”) and a movie star (“The Young Lions,” “Rio Bravo”).

Along the way, Martin’s public persona of the urbane ladies man with a penchant for drink was created. His Las Vegas appearances with the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop — cemented the image. In later years, the guise became a bit more boozy and womanizing on “The Dean Martin Show,” which ran from 1965 to 1974 on NBC.

It was all an act.

“The one thing I try to get into is the side of Martin where he was kind of a brooding guy, he had things in his life her regretted,” Pandola says. “He loved kids, he loved his children, and he was a devoted husband.”

So there was more to Martin than meets the eye.

“What interested me about the guy, is that like so many people I grew up with in South Philly, he’s the child of immigrant parents,” says Pandola of Martin, who was born Dino Crocetti in Ohio. “He had one foot in the old world, and one foot in the new world.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.