Celebrating Dean Martin: And That's Amore!
Considered one of the most influential entertainers in history, Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Ohio to an Italian father, Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti, originally from Montesilvano, Abruzzo, and an Italian-American mother, Angela Crocetti. The young Dean would, in fact, speak only Italian, specifically the Abruzzese dialect, until he started going to school at age five.
Dean Martin: The King of Cool with an Italian Heart
With Italy in his heart, Martin discovered his musical talent and would eventually become one of the most popular and influential singers, actors, and entertainers of all time. His collaborations are emblazoned in the history of music, from Frank Sinatra with The Rat Pack, to Jerry Lewis, with whom he formed the comedy duo Martin and Lewis. But he collaborated also with other big names such as Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. He was also a popular TV host, The Dean Martin Show is one of the most successful shows of all times.
2017 marks the centennial celebration of the star’s birthday, and who better than a true Italian to honor him in New York’s music temple, Carnegie Hall?
Francesca Capetta: A Rising Star
Francesca Capetta, the Italian singer who is gradually making a name for herself in New York as a fresh new Broadway talent, came to the US four years ago all the way from Turin, Piedmont. Although Italy was in her heart, Capetta felt that it was extremely hard to break into the Italian music scene, considering the current status of the Italian music industry. She struggles to turn her passion for singing into a true profession. She did, in fact, graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, but the sacred fire of art never seemed to go out. Talent, destiny, and a bit of good luck cooperated to put back Francesca on the track that she had always wished for. She was chosen for the AMDA–The American Musical and Dramatic Academy–in New York. This was a big turning point in her life, both professionally and personally, as it brought her to be chosen for the Town Hall theater’s show Broadway Rising Stars, directed by Scott Coulter and written by Scott Siegel. From that moment on, her career took off leading her to her first show, which she directed, wrote and performed in all by herself, Francesca Capetta: An Italian in New York in 2016.
Ambition, determination, and a wholesome dedication to the craft is something that the young singer definitely shares with one of her idols–Dean Martin. Her heartfelt tribute to the American singer took place at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in front of an enthusiastic audience that packed the sold out event.
An Heartfelt Tribute
Capetta envisioned the show as a memorial rollercoaster of Martin’s life and career, revisiting some of his biggest hits. Francesca’s acting and singing skills blended together to offer the audience a fully immersive experience into Dean Martin’s world. She narrated stories and anecdotes from his life as well as stories about the composition of and the meaning behind Martin’s songs. Some other exceptional artists took the stage with Capetta to enrich the show that sparkled with talent, emotion, wit, and bit of irony.
The extraordinary musical director Ian Herman accompanied Capetta and her special guests at the piano. Special acts featured the iconic Tony Award winner Lilianne Montevecchi (Broadway: Nine–Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical), cabaret singer Stacy Sullivan, and an exquisite chorus.
The show started with Dean Martin’s first big success, the infamous “That’s Amore,” and continued with the singer’s classics such as “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes,” “I Will,” and “Volare.” “Volare,” which was first performed by Italian singer Domenico Modugno and won the 1958 Sanremo Festival, is one of the most popular Italian songs in the entire world. Martin was one of the first to cover the song in English, turning it into an even bigger success in the US. Capetta did these classics justice with a fresh interpretation, which highlighted her strong musical training and showed all of the colors of her rich voice in between the registers of swing and jazz.
The Show's Special Guests: Liliane Montevecchi and Stacy Sullivan
Capetta performed some of her favorites songs as well, such as “Senza Fine,” another Italian classic written by Italian singer-songwriter Gino Paoli for Ornella Vanoni, one of the greatest Italian singers of all time. Francesca also performed Édith Piaf's "Le Vie En Rose,” stating that it was one of the first songs that inspired her to become a singer. Stacy Sullivan also pleased the audience with the elegance of her interpretations; she sang “On the Street Where You Live,” “Blue Moon,” and “Don’t Fence Me.”
The public was reminded of what a true diva really is when Liliane Montevecchi took the stage. Every single one of her gestures, even before singing, told the history of theater, of movies, and of Broadway with an exciting mix of class, glamour, wit, and a bit of self-irony that made the audience laugh and created an immediate connection between them and the artist. The French-Italian singer, actress, and dancer performed “C’Est Magnifique” and “I Love Paris,” where, at the end, her voice intertwined with Capetta’s. Capetta realized one of her biggest dreams, singing with her idol, Liliane Montevecchi, the Italian singer that Capetta followed and adored since she was a little kid.
The show exalted Dean Martin’s timeless talent and paid a lovely tribute to the exceptional character that he was, full of irony and a personality that was definitely born for the stage. Francesca Capetta has already proved that she was born for that as well. Her versatile nature as a performer and her warm presence on stage promise to even greater heights of stardom.