The debut of "The Phat Pack" to Las Vegas this month signified a wonderful gift to the city.
Drawing the show's name from the fact (or, is that "ph"act?) that the trio of singers all met in the production of "Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular." And, while I fear that the name will be a barrier to drawing the crowd they deserve, the show is so very much worth seeing.
Accompanied by musical conductor Joey Singer, the trio sings - individually and as a group - the best of the Broadway songbook.
Ted Keegan, Randal Keith and Bruce Ewing sing numbers from the shows they've been in, songs they love and material specially written d for their show.
It's a kind of informal, cabaret-like evening. They share their stories, their backgrounds and memories with the audience.
They begin with an explanatory number called "The Phat Pack," explaining the naming of the show, their love of theater music and then sing of their musical theater roots. Next, they explain to the audience their preference for being "nine people's favorite thing than 100 people's ninth favorite."
Keegan understudied the lead in "Phantom" in Las Vegas and played the part on the road. Randal Keith was Jean Valjean on the road and on Broadway. He took over the lead - giving a terrific performance - when John O'Hurley left the now-lamented Las Vegas production of "Spamalot." Ewing was in the long-lived Las Vegas production of "Forever Plaid."
"The Phat Pack" is filled with the music of Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Jule Styne, Comden and Green, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim. Some of the numbers are well known - " In the Still of the Night, S'Wonderful, i'll Be Seeing You, One For My Baby" - and some are obscure, known only to a few diehard theater lovers. Chief among these is "Is Anybody There?" from 1776, sung by Randal Keith. (Broadway geek that I am, I am positive that I was the only one in the audience who not only knows the score from 1776, but has it on my iPod. I am, however, absolutely not the only one who enjoyed it.)
Another highlight was the expert and gifted Joey Singer playing "Rhapsody In Blue." Just beautiful.
The show was received with a prolonged standing ovation, whistles and cheers. Why, even when they did songs now familiar to everyone - songs like "The Music of the Night" and "Bring Him Home" - they made them their own and the music sounded fresh and new.
Playing in the lovely showroom of the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, the evening was a revelation. It graphically illustrates the fact that Las Vegas is a talent magnet and that such talent deserves to be cherished by the city.
(If you don't live in or near Las Vegas, be sure to look at your local arts center schedule for them to appear. They are scheduling performances around the nation and it's worth watching for them and/or requesting them.)
"The Phat Pack" is a wonderful show, one of the best in Las Vegas. Be sure to see it.
The Phat Pack performs Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 5 pm and 7 pm. Tickets are priced at $42.45 to $53.45. and are available by calling 702-946-8934 or 800-793-9332 or online at