The Lyric Theatre Presents

"Sinatra Through The Early Years" with The Pied Pipers & The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra

The Big Band music of the 1930s and ‘40s is etched into our minds for its jumpin’-jive danceability, its superlative musicianship and its ability to immediately bring that long-ago American era to mind. Pennsylvania-born Jimmy — the older brother of fellow Big Bandman Tommy Dorsey —was a smokin’ sax and clarinet player, and a visionary bandleader. He knew how to keep spirits high. For nuance, of course, there were the vocalists. The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (“On a Little Street in Singapore,” “Besame Mucho,” “Dusk in Upper Sandusky”) featured the amazing Helen O’Connell at the microphone, who sang heartbreaking ballads as well as uptempo, danceable tunes, often as duets with the Dorsey band’s versatile male vocalist Ray Eberly. The Pied Pipers (whose lead singer, Jo Stafford, would later go on to solo fame) were part of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. When this multi-layer harmony group was paired with up-and-coming crooner Frank Sinatra, there was no stopping them: Hits by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers included the immortal “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Stardust,” “Do I Worry” and “There Are Such Things.” For many, the memory of Sinatra — the voice and the man — musically defines the era. Certainly he was to go on to even bigger successes, but his Big Band years, with the Dorsey orchestra, were an important part of American cultural history. And when Sinatra was backed by the Pied Pipers, it was a sound like no other, before or since. Today, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra is led by trombonist Bill Tole, who’s dedicated to making the show the most thrilling walk down memory lane it can possibly be.