Sinatra: RAW

Solo Show · openbox productions · Ages 18+ · United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Content Warning one person show

★★★★★ WINNER – ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’ – Edinburgh & Adelaide Fringe, London West End.
★★★★★ ‘Simply phenomenal’ – BBC

Richard Shelton’s masterful show goes behind the blue eyes of the icon revealing the man behind the music, making its Hollywood Fringe debut after sell-out runs in London, New York, Edinburgh and Adelaide. Widely recognised as ‘the worlds leading dramatic interpreter’ of Frank Sinatra (Best Actor in a Leading Role – ‘Rat Pack Confidential’, ‘Sinatra: RAW’) – Shelton goes deep inside Sinatra’s mind as he prepares to retire – for the first time.

Regrets? He’s had a few. And times are changing. The music scene is dominated by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie. Mid-aged, three times married and divorced, Sinatra feels increasingly redundant. As the hour glass of the Jack Daniels goes down, memories come flooding back. Accompanied by nothing more than a bottle of Jack Daniels, a pianist and invited celeb friends, Sinatra recalls a life of showbiz highs and lows, including his doomed love affair with screen Goddess, Ava Gardner (The Body), his suicide attempts and mob-allegations, in a searingly painful, yet startlingly celebratory account of the life of an icon.

Songs include, ‘All or Nothing at All’, ‘My Foolish Heart’, ‘My Way’, ’I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ and ‘A Very Good Year’.

‘The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.’ – Frank Sinatra.

Directed by Andrew Lynford.

Reviews include;
BBC ★★★★★
“No one should take lightly standing onstage trying to BE Frank Sinatra, but Richard Shelton is quite simply phenomenal. He captures the essence of the man perfectly. His voice has exactly the right tone; he has that twinkle in his eye; he has the anger that sometimes flowed out of every Sinatra pore.” Mike Young, BBC, ‘Rat Pack Confidential’.

The American ✭✭✭✭✭ –
“Not just a Sinatra show, this is an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of a colossus of 20th century culture. This was Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I or Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles. Someone who isn’t offering a cheap reproduction but instead an imaginative and original contribution to our understanding of heroes and their humanity. And OH, that voice. In an alternate universe, it would be Frank Sinatra doing Shelton: Raw. Not a note off pitch, that baritone and those soulful tunes would make your granny weep.”

The American Prospect ★★★★★ – More than mere mimicry, (Sinatra: RAW) it’s a genuinely moving and, musically speaking, deeply satisfying experience. When I saw Shelton, he was a better Sinatra than Sinatra had been. (He also took requests: I got “That’s Life,” Frank’s greatest statement about just being Frank, and Shelton killed it.)

Eric Alterman, Dec 2022.
★★★★★ London Theatre 1
“A glorious and compelling masterpiece”

The Spectator ★★★★★ –
“This show packs a surprising emotional punch and Shelton delivers terrific versions of Sinatra’s greatest hits. No wonder the production sells out all over the world.”
Sinatra: Raw (Pleasance, until 15 August) takes us inside the mind of the 20th century’s greatest crooner. The performer, Richard Shelton, catches Sinatra in confessional mode in the 1970s as he looks back on his chequered career. In the early days, a promoter suggested the stage name ‘Frankie Satin’ but his tough-minded mother, Dolly, vetoed the idea. The show’s best sections investigate the harrowing details of his tangled and doomed romance with Ava Gardener. Fame and wealth never sweetened Sinatra’s prickly character. ‘Drink is my worst enemy,’ he quips, necking whisky from a tumbler. ‘But, like the Bible says, you’ve got to love your enemies.’ This show packs a surprising emotional punch and Shelton delivers terrific versions of Sinatra’s greatest hits. No wonder the production sells out all over the world.

★★★★★ 5 stars! Adelaide Advertiser:
“Richard Shelton’s incredible show delves just as deeply into Sinatra, the man and the myth, as it does the music. He absolutely inhabits Ol’ Blue Eyes’ persona that he’s literally got him under his skin, right down to every mannerism, facial tic and spoken inflection, nailing Sinatra’s distinctive phrasing and the rich timbre of his singing voice.”

★★★★★ ‘Musical Theatre Review’ – "Richard Shelton in ‘Sinatra:RAW’ conveys the spirit of the legend in a difficult stage in his life without ever lapsing into imitation or parody, it’s a memorable gritty portrayal that stays with you long after the music has stopped –

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Production Team

* Fringe Veteran