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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 8 months ago

Rat Pack trio takes locals back to heyday during Ormond Beach performance

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Geno Monroe performed as Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Sands as Frank Sinatra and Johnny Petillo as Dean Martin on Sunday, Jan. 7.
by: Paige Wilson Community Editor

Tribute musicians portraying the iconic Rat Pack of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra wooed the crowd at Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Sisters Joan Clay and Phyllis Knight reminisce about their youth in Steubenville, Ohio, where Clay went to school with Dean Martin. Photo by Paige Wilson

Audience members Phyllis Knight and Joan Clay, who are sisters, reminisced on their youth in Steubenville, Ohio, where Clay attended Steubenville High School, also called “Big Red High,” with Dean Martin.

“My father had a vending business, so he had control all over the tri-state area of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” said Knight, who lives four months a year in Ormond Beach. “That had everything to do with what records were put into those units.”

Clay and Knight said they and their other two sisters would vote on records — often in favor of Dean Martin’s — to help their father determine what music to play in his company’s jukeboxes.

Johnny Petillo performs as Dean Martin. Photo by Paige Wilson

“He wouldn’t had gotten off the ground if we wouldn’t have done that,” Clay laughed.

Knight described the annual Dean Martin Festival that takes place in Steubenville, Ohio each June as quite the tribute to the comedian, singer and actor.

“The whole town is just blaring his music,” she said. “You can hear it 30 miles away.”

Clay, who has lived in Ormond Beach for four years, said she enjoys attending cultural performances around town.

At the Rat Pack show, Tony Sands performed as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Petillo as Dean Martin and Geno Monroe as Sammy Davis Jr. for an afternoon of comedy and singing that prompted standing ovations. 

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