Australia’s own king of swing returns to Melbourne in February with his new show Now We’re Swingin’.
A NIDA grad, Tom’s theatre credits include Gordon Frosts’ How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Merrily We Roll Along with the Sydney Theatre Company, and the Australian touring production of The Producers where he played nervous accountant come Broadway producer Leo Bloom throughout 2004 and 2005.
More recently, Tom created and starred in the acclaimed theatrical production Frank – A Life in Song, which played highly successful seasons at premier venues around Australia, including Sydney’s Star City and Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
In February the Whitehorse Centre presents Tom’s new show Now We’re Swingin’, a montage of swing classics from the likes of Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, and Frank Sinatra, through to the songs made famous by contemporary swingers Harry Connick Jr., Michael Bublé, and Robbie Williams.
“This music is, to a degree, timeless,” says Tom. “A lot of the songs in the show were written for musicals produced in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. They have intelligent lyrics and melodic structure, and that’s why they’ve become classics of the genre.”
“I have included classics from Tony Bennett, who has fantastic pipes and was Sinatra’s favourite singer; Nat King Cole, who was smooth and jazzy; the multi-talented, high-energy Sammy Davis Jr.; Dean Martin, who was the epitome of cool; and Bobby Darin who also had some big hits.
“I don’t set out to imitate how they sang these songs, but many of the arrangements in the show are based on the originals, whether by Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Quincy Jones, and George Rhodes. If people know a song well, they’ll be familiar with our versions.
“Many people who come to see the show will be expecting to hear Sinatra. For me, he was the greatest of them all, but that’s not to say they weren’t all great. Sinatra may not have had all the individual elements some of the other singers of the era had, but when Sinatra sang a song, it got sung!
“When I was only three years old, I used to say to my mother ‘Put on the man in the hat’. That was the album A Swingin’ Affair, which had a picture of Sinatra on the cover in his trademark fedora.”
“If you like [Harry Connick Jr, Robbie Williams, and Michael Bublé] you will like what I’m doing in this show. I’ve found that younger audiences don’t realise that these songs were originally written and performed back in the ‘40s and ‘50s. I like to set the record straight and make sure the audience knows who they originally done by.
“I always joke that if the first time you heard this song was on a Michael Bublé album, look further back. There’s no doubt Bublé is a huge fan of Sinatra and there’s no doubt that Sinatra would love to know that a younger audience still loves his songs.”
The song list for the show is a feast of swing classics, including “Sway,” “Just in Time,” “Beyond the Sea,” “L-O-V-E,” “Birth of the Blues,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?” and “Feeling Good.” It also includes “Anything Goes” and “I Won’t Dance” from the albums Songs for Swingin’ Lovers and Tom’s favourite Sinatra album, A Swingin’ Affair.
Tom will be accompanied live on stage by an eight-piece swing band featuring some of Australia’s best jazz musicians.
Book now for an evening of timeless music with a dash of style as Tom Burlinson takes to the stage in Now We’re Swingin’ at The Whitehorse Centre on 10th & 11th Feb 2012.
Bonus Ticket Special: The Whitehorse center are offering under 25s a discounted rate of $25 for all of their professional season shows this year – including Tom!