Impersonator Bobby Barrett nails Sinatra on the screws

By Todd Dewey, Contributor

Las Vegas Golf - Bobby BarrettHis mother's due date was Dec. 12, the same day his idol, Francis Albert Sinatra, was born.

In another twist of fate, Bobby Barrett's debut on the famed Las Vegas Strip -- at the now-defunct Brown Derby at the MGM Grand -- took place the last night of Sinatra's life. Close to six years later, Barrett, the longest-running Sinatra stylist in Vegas, is still performing his tribute to the Chairman of the Board in the city he and his Rat Pack made famous.

"I've had offers from other cities, but Vegas has been good to me," said Barrett, a native of Massachusetts who has lived in Sin City for close to six years. "Vegas and Frank are so synonymous. (It's special) because he loved it here so much. Him and Elvis built it. He made Vegas Vegas."

Barrett, who has close to 300 songs in his repertoire, now performs from 8 p.m. to midnight, Mondays through Thursdays, at the Casa Di Amore Italian restaurant on East Tropicana Ave., a short cab ride from his old stomping grounds at the MGM Grand, located less than two miles away.

Barrett's schedule gives him plenty of time to work on his golf game, and he usually plays two or three times a week. A 15-handicap, the Summerlin resident's favorite courses include the Siena Golf Club, TPC Canyons, the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort and the Angel Park Golf Club.

While Barrett, 43, has loved Sinatra since his ears could hear The Voice, he didn't become passionate about golf until his mid-20s.

"I started watching it on TV and me and my friends started playing it on Nintendo for money," he said. "Then we said 'let's try it' and we went to the driving range and started playing. After the first round, I was hooked."

Barrett was hooked on Ole Blue Eyes, a former golfer himself, since birth.

"I grew up listening to him. My mother was a fanatic, but I think I was more of a fanatic," he said. "She said I used to go crazy when I was listening to him."

After overcoming a severe case of stage fright, Barrett, began singing karaoke at a local chinese restaurant, where he was approached by the producers of Joey & Maria's comedy Italian wedding.

"They asked me to do a part in their show, and I ended up being the bride's brother, best man, and emcee," he said. "I was petrified at first, but when the shell came off and I got over my fear, I loved it. I'm pretty natural at improv, so it was easy for me."

Las Vegas Golf - Bobby BarrettBarrett played the part of a Sinatra wannabe, which he admitted wasn't much of a stretch, and sang five songs a night during the dinner show.

After a few years of doing the show in Boston, he went with the cast to Vegas, where they did a month-long stretch at the now-defunct Italian-American club on East Sahara Ave.

Their stay was extended by a couple hotels and Barrett was then approached by a local restaurant owner to perform on his own. Soon thereafter, Barrett was offered a job at the Brown Derby and he's been singing Sinatra in Vegas ever since, resigning from his job at the post office after 14 years.

"I thought I'd stay here for a month and that would be it, but I never left," Barrett said. "I got a good reputation and things worked out. A lot of good things have happened to me out here, a lot of things I'd never dreamed of before."

Noted entertainers Tom Jones and Tony Curtis became regulars at the Brown Derby, and Barrett even performed at Curtis' wedding reception.

"I can actually call them friends," Barrett said. "Tony Curtis was the best. He told me (Sinatra and my) personalities were very similar, and he loves the way I sing.

"He was really good friends with Frank. He was one of the Rat Pack, even though he was not on stage. He was real young. Those guys were in their 40s and he was 28. Frank called him Boinie, because his real name was Bernie."

Barrett, whose successful run ended at the Brown Derby after a new restaurant took its place, has performed for a plethora of celebrities, including Joe Pesci, on his birthday, Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, Gregory Peck, Robert Goulet, who he sang with, and others, including none other than Frank Sinatra Jr.

"Frank Jr. came in one night with 20 people after one of his shows, and I was told he enjoyed it, although I didn't get a chance to talk to him," he said.

Las Vegas Golf - Bobby BarrettThe male cast of The Sopranos certainly enjoyed the show. After Barrett sang during an autograph session with the actors, he was summoned to perform in a private room for the cast, at the behest of James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano himself.

"All of them were sitting around a big table full of pasta and meatballs, and they all cheered when I came in, and they made me sing," he said. "I didn't have any music, so Gandolfini told them to get a boom box and I put my CD in and sang."

After a five-year run at the Brown Derby, Barrett -- the 2003 celebrity pick for best lounge performer in the Best of Las Vegas poll in the Las Vegas Review-Journal -- bounced around to a few different venues, including Treasure Island, Bally's and the Tropicana.

Barrett, who has performed in 42 states the past six years, and is booked years in advance for weddings and corporate events (568-9000), enjoys the atmosphere at Casa Di Amore, where his regulars include Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, and Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers.

"It's great. There are a lot of locals and people who have been following me since the MGM there," he said. "It's a great place -- it's a joint -- and they have great food and a great atmosphere."

Casa Di Amore (433-4967), which serves dinner 24 hours a day, is a place straight out of Goodfellas, with Barrett's Sinatra stylings the perfect complement to a veal parmesan or linguine with clams dish.

While Sinatra recorded 1,414 songs and more than 70 original albums -- not to mention earning credits in 63 films and winning two Academy Awards -- Barrett said New York, New York and My Way remain his two most requested songs.

Barrett said being able to do it his way on the links is one of the lures of the game.

"I like being in the open air by myself. The game challenges yourself," he said. "You totally have to rely on yourself."

Todd Dewey, Contributor


 
Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Best

    Joe Cheffro wrote on: Jul 8, 2014

    Your still the best to me no matter what you do

    Reply

  • miss you

    larry mcisaac wrote on: Sep 15, 2011

    got a lot of laughs with you at GMF.goin to vegas oct 2 wanted to look you up.well wish you the best whereever you are. Larry

    Reply

  • Need Assistance

    MIchael Printy wrote on: Jun 14, 2010

    If any one knows how to get in touch with him please contact me. I run a concierge Service and have a client wants to get in touch with him for a possible gig. I would greatly appreciate any assistance. Thank you, Michael

    Reply

    • RE: Need Assistance

      guy Peterson wrote on: Oct 29, 2013

      Bobby now works at a local home Depot in Massachusetts.

      Reply

    • RE: Need Assistance

      Jimmy Demetriou wrote on: Jan 7, 2011

      Hi, did you have any luck in tracing Bobby Barrett
      Am an old friend of his from London, would be great to get in touch with him again.
      Regards Jimmy D.

      Reply

  • Hello from Bob Gauvreau/Massachusetts

    Bob Gauvreau wrote on: Feb 23, 2010

    Hi Bob,
    You and I would email regularly when you were in Las Vegas. In 2007, my wife and I made a trip to Vegas to perform. We tried to locate you but were unable to. I hear that you're back home in the Boston area and would love to chat with you. You can contact me through my website at www.bobgauvreau.com My email address is there. Thank You...

    Reply

    • RE: Hello from Bob Gauvreau/Massachusetts

      Kathy Turner wrote on: Jan 30, 2011

      HELLO BOB,
      DID YOU HAVE ANY LUCK LOCATING BOBBY BARRETT? WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE HIM AGAIN.
      THANK YOU,
      KATHY

      Reply

  • Bobby Barrett

    Darla wrote on: Jan 9, 2009

    Does anyone know where Bobby Barrett is? Is he still performing in Vegas? We want to see him religiously at the Brown Derby and since they closed it we have lost contact with him and would like to see him again. He is a great Sinatra impersonator. Someone please RSVP. Thanks

    Reply

    • RE: Bobby Barrett

      CeeCee wrote on: Feb 10, 2009

      Bobby has moved back to Boston for a much needed voice rest. But don't fear you will hear from him again!

      Reply

      • RE: Bobby Barrett

        Steve Mersand wrote on: Apr 21, 2010

        I have an old AOL address for Bobby but have not received a reply to my last three emails over a period of about a year.
        Can you pass on my email to him if you have the opportunity to connect. We saw him dozens of times outside the old Brown Derby at the MGM
        Thanks

        Reply

      • RE: RE: Bobby Barrett

        Ray Rodriguez wrote on: Feb 12, 2010

        Would really like to know if or when Bobby will be back in Vegas, would definitly make the trip to see him perform !

        Reply

      • RE: RE: Bobby Barrett

        laura kent wrote on: Feb 6, 2010

        Bobby where are you???? Want to hear you play! Laura in Houston

        Reply

    • RE: Bobby Barrett

      Anne wrote on: Jan 10, 2009

      He has left Vegas and is now living in Massachusetts.

      Reply

  • Bobby Performing

    Joe wrote on: Sep 11, 2008

    I will be coming out on Oct. 5th. Is Bobby still on the lounge circuit, or playing anywhere around town? He is worth the trip!

    Reply

  • We love Bobby! Great fans!

    Marlene C. wrote on: Jun 23, 2007

    We are always wondering how Bobby is doing & where he is now? Is he still in Vegas singing? Take care & we wish you the best! We love your fantastic & amazing talent of Frank Sinatra. We've never found anyone as good as you.

    Reply

  • my good ol cuz

    Frank W. barrett wrote on: May 12, 2007

    i just want to say hi to my cousin, I miss him very much. I wish that i could talk with him- I am the son of his uncle david and his Dad is my Uncle, the last time I seen Bobby's dad was when i let my own dad go back to his maker. Bobby please say hi to your family for me.

    Reply

  • he sang at my house!

    Dianne wrote on: Mar 2, 2007

    I looked on the Internet and found this article and was so happy to hear that he did so. The first time I met Bobby was at a house party for my mother who turned 70 years old. She passed away last year, but the memory of this day with him singing to her will never be forgotten. He is a wonderful man and a great entertainer! I wish him the best!!!

    Reply

  • bobby

    glenn m wrote on: Jun 5, 2006

    I believe Bobby Barett is performing Sunday nights at a loung at Treasure Island according to an internet site on Vegas lounges dated June 06.

    Reply

  • no subject

    jenny wrote on: Jul 1, 2005

    being the neice of bobby barrett and having the privelage of listening to him sing is great. whenever we [me and my family] hear a sinatra song on the radio or while listening to a cd, we always are amazed by how they sound exactly alike. If you ever get the chance to hear bobby sing, take it.

    Reply

    • RE: no subject

      fwb316 wrote on: Feb 16, 2012

      Hi cuz. Do you remember when Bobby perform in somerville for my dad and uncle Jimmy? That was the first time for me to hear him. I lived in vegas but never got to see him. last time i seen was at my sisters funeral

      Reply

    • Bobby Barrett

      Jeff wrote on: Feb 25, 2007

      My daughter is getting married and i want to hire Bobby to perform. The wedding party will be held in Las Vegas. How can I reach Bobby??

      Reply

    • RE: Bobby Barrett

      Ed Baquerizo wrote on: Jul 25, 2006

      My friends and I are big fans of Bobby Barrett and will be traveling to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks. According to your post, you are his niece - any idea if he is still performing? Where can we catch up with him? He's really a top performer! Your expedient response woud be appreciated. My e-mail address is: EBaquerizo@aoll.com
      Thank you.
      Ed

      Reply

    • Where is Bobbby

      Vickie wrote on: Jul 16, 2005

      I am a big fan, please let me know where Bobby is playing now. Thanks, Vickie

      Reply

      • RE: Where is Bobbby

        Joan Dixon wrote on: Jan 7, 2006

        I am a big fan - where is Bobby playing?

        Reply

        • RE: RE: Where is Bobbby

          glenn m wrote on: Jul 7, 2006

          Try Treasure Island, Las Vegas a lounge on Sunday nights. Let me know. I heard that he is performing there.

          Reply

        • RE: RE: Where is Bobbby

          Glenn M. wrote on: Jun 5, 2006

          Check out Treasure Island. I believe Bobby is at a lounge there on Sunday nights.

          Reply

        • RE: RE: Where is Bobbby

          kahuna wrote on: Mar 1, 2006

          Reply

          • RE: RE: RE: Where is Bobbby

            glenn m wrote on: Jun 5, 2006

            Check out Treasure Island. I believe Bobby is at a lounge there on Sunday nights.

            Reply

        • RE: RE: Where is Bobbby

          rvg wrote on: Jan 14, 2006

          I'd like to know that too.....we'll be in town the 27th & 28th.....would love to see him.
          Brunette TJ fan

          Reply

          • RE: RE: RE: Where is Bobbby

            normstar wrote on: May 30, 2007

            last I talked to Bobby he was taking some time off from singing and living in Phoenix, but that was quite a while back. Let me know if you find him!
            n*

            Reply

            • RE: RE: RE: RE: Where is Bobbby

              Paul wrote on: Dec 8, 2007

              We are going to be in Vegas Feb. 11 to Feb. 16 Please let me know where he is.
              Seen him years ago at the MGM and he's the best.

              Reply

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