The Courier-Mail

OL’ BLUE EYES IS BACK

- PHIL BROWN ARTS EDITOR

SINGING like Frank Sinatra turned out to be a career changer for actor Tom Burlinson.

The bloke who was once known best for his role in The Man from Snowy River is now better known for the fact he spends quite a lot of time being Frank Sinatra.

His new show, Tom Burlinson Performs Sinatra at The Sands is the latest iteration in a string of tribute shows and it comes to the Concert Hall, QPAC on June 12.

“This is the main thing I do now,” Burlinson explains.

“It all came out of necessity really because acting work was getting scarce. So rather than waiting for an opportunit­y I thought I’d create something myself. It became so popular it has now taken over.”

The world first discovered that Burlinson (pictured) sounded like Sinatra in 1991 when he sang the voice of the young Sinatra in the Warner Brothers miniseries Sinatra.

“When it became known that the guy from The Man from Snowy River could not only sing, but sing like Sinatra, it led to me being cast in some stage musicals and then to me creating my own shows.”

Those shows have taken him through the Sinatra canon and he has done them all over Australia and even in Las Vegas, where Sinatra was a headline act.

While Burlinson, 59, sings like Sinatra and even acts a bit like Sinatra, he isn’t an impersonat­or, he points out.

But he is steeped in the legend of the man himself and knows all his records, his films and has read all the biographie­s, for better and worse.

The fact that Sinatra was a bundle of contradict­ions adds texture to the performanc­es and there is a bit of Sinatra patter, but not too much.

This show focuses on the period that led to the 1966 live album Sinatra at the Sands and Burlinson says Sinatra would do monologues in his Sands shows that were always politicall­y incorrect but he stresses his patter will be short and sweet.

At the time, Sinatra was accompanie­d by Count Basie and his orchestra, conducted and arranged by Quincy Jones.

Burlinson is performing with a big band this time around to replicate that sound on songs such as Come Fly With Me, I”ve Got You Under My Skin, The Shadow of Your Smile and others.

The first part of the show features songs Sinatra sang at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In the second half he gives the audience the standards that they demand – My Way and New York, New York, among them.

“I can’t get away with not doing those songs,” Burlinson says.

“I will also do Strangers in The Night, which people seem to love even though Sinatra didn’t. It was a hit for him but he said it had too many words.”

Burlinson says bringing Sinatra’s music back is a joy and that audiences old and young tell him they love his shows. He says he is glad Michael Buble has helped reignite interest in Sinatra.

“He has helped turn people on to Frank,” Burlinson says.

And that can only be a good thing for the man who is the main keeper of the Sinatra flame. Tom Burlinson performs Sinatra

at the Sands, Friday, June 12, 8pm, Concert Hall, QPAC, $69.90; 136 246; qpac.com.au

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