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Ron Hawking set for a ‘Rat Pack’ Christmas

RHawking headlines Drury Lane Oak Brook with Christmas show Dec. 17.

Ron Hawking headlines the Drury Lane Oak Brook with a Christmas show on Dec. 17.

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Hawking — ‘His Way for the Holidays’

♦ 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17

♦ Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace

♦ (630) 530-0111;

Crooner Ron Hawking, best known for his shows featuring the music of Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack, is adding a bit of Christmas to the mix for his upcoming show at theDrury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook.

“I’ve had people who were expecting an impersonation tell me after the first five minutes that it was something different than what they expected,” Hawking said. “But the music brings people back to a kinder, lighter and gentler time. That’s why I think people still enjoy it.”

And the show has plenty of the Sinatra and Rat Pack feel because much of the orchestration was worked out with the late Bill Rogers, a musician/composer who worked with Sinatra as well as the likes of Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Bob Hope. Hawking will also perform songs made famous by Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., and and Hawking’s own composition, “Christmas at the Copa Room.”

Hawking originally talked with Rogers about ideas and musical arrangements for the show on the phone when Rogers was living in Las Vegas. When Rogers came to Chicago to visit friends, they got together and fine-tuned the arrangements.

“It was really a joy to work with him,” Hawking said. “I told him I didn’t want to be up there trying to be Frank. He came back with the orchestration and we discussed a few things further from there. I would throw out ideas that I thought worked and he would come up with something.”

But while Hawking’s show contains his own unique signature, he also makes sure to pay homage to the man affectionately dubbed The Chairman of the Board by his many fans. Hawking still enjoys performing the shows because it allows older fans to reminisce while introducing younger fans to the music. For the Drury Lane show, Hawking will be backed by an eight-piece orchestra.

“In my own way I feel like I’m passing the torch to newer generations,” he said. “There aren’t many clubs and shows that do music with full, live orchestras. Younger people get to see how those nightclub shows felt.”

And while it may be the music of Frank, Dean and Sammy, it’s done Ron Hawking’s way.

Mike Martinez is a local free-lance writer.

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