Michael Dutra is a man living a very large dream. He takes to the stage more than 300 nights per year, stunning audiences with his dead-on renditions of Frank Sinatra classics.
Dutra will be performing as part of the Old Town Dinner Theatre series at the Pine Bluff Country Club, 1100 Country Club Lane on Aug. 3. Dinner starts at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30.
“I’ve just always loved to sing,” Dutra says, recalling his childhood years singing gospel in Pentecostal church services. From the time he was about 8 years old, growing up in East Providence, Rhode Island, Dutra absorbed his father’s fascination and fondness for Sinatra’s sophisticated tunes. “We’d go to the store together to buy new lyric sheets, and I just learned the melodies by ear,” he explains.
“Sinatra sang more than 2,400 songs,” Dutra marvels, “and my repertoire features at least 500 of those.” Dutra finds that “My Way” and “Summer Wind” are runaway favorites with audiences everywhere. “Vocally, ‘My Way’ is a killer,” he smiles, “But I do it anyway since that’s what people want to hear. I work with Nelson Riddle arrangements – the best there is – and I’ve had the honor of performing with musicians who actually played with Frank back in the day. Authentic tracks elevate the performance immeasurably.”
Like the master himself, Dutra claims to be, “Musically illiterate”. “ Frank couldn’t read music or play any instrument and neither can I. But a good ear and interpretation are everything. And, like Frank, I’ve learned to surround myself with the very best talents in the business. Their brilliance and skill makes me sound even better.”
Like the moody, “Nearness of You”, Dutra’s show wraps its arms around listeners. Wearing Sinatra’s signature fedora, bathed in expressive stage lighting, and singing his heart our at a vintage microphone, Dutra brings a luxurious supper-club elegance to any venue. Dutra says he had the honor of meeting Frank Sinatra Jr. once, and earned his blessing.
Dutra is tickled by a stroke of serendipity that has him sharing a birthday with Frank who was born on Dec. 12, 1915, and Dutra on the same date in 1958. The commonality seems anything but commonplace to Dutra. Does it mean anything – who knows “Where or When?” But in Dutra’s heart, “Once Upon a Time” the musical stars aligned.
OTTC, a not-for-profit organization, sponsors monthly nationally acclaimed Dinner Theatre shows. The atmosphere is inviting, friendly and welcoming, according to an event spokesman. Moderate pricing for the dinner and show is $45 per person, which includes the gratuities. The shows are geared for adults and older teenagers. The dress code at the club is casual, but conservative when in doubt.
For more information, call 870-535-2646 or visit the website www.pbdtheatre.com.