FOR SINGER Johnny Edwards, playing Dean Martin was always something he strived to do.
When he began making his way in the industry in Las Vegas in 1993, he was originally cast as an Elvis performer.
“They told me I had the looks for a strong Elvis,” Edwards said.
“But I always wanted to be Dean Martin. His personality is closer to mine.
“Elvis actually idolised Martin so it was a good start while I waited to be mature enough to play Dean Martin.”
Edwards said he grew up watching Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
“Jerry was the heavy comedy but I was always intrigued by Martin. He always got the girl and he had this charm mixed with great humour.”
Eleven years later Edwards got his wish and was cast as Dean Martin in The Rat Pack Live From Vegas touring show.
He has since developed his impression and continued to tour as Martin.
“You can never be 100 per cent Dean Martin,” he said.
“I watch the same video and can pick some different nuance (I didn’t notice) every time.
“You learn enough that it becomes second nature to you but you always look to improve whether it’s your make-up or hair, his expression, the way he holds a glass or smokes a cigarette.”
Edwards is teaming up with David De Costa (as Frank Sinatra) and Nicholas Brooks (as Sammy Davis Jnr) for the tour that arrives in Bendigo on February 16.
Edwards says the show is sure to feature favourite songs, dances and gags.
“There will be Everybody Loves Somebody, which is Dean’s love song to the audience, Kick in the Head and Volari, which is a favourite of mine,” he said.
“We also make fun of each other on stage. Frank is the serious guy but we don’t give him much of a chance to stay serious - our goal is to one-up Frank.
“When they used to perform together Dean would usually win out. He would entertain the audience from the back of the stage.”
Edwards has also had the chance to come to grips with the massive stardom The Rat Pack and other stars face. His cousin is pop star Cyndi Lauper.
“When she first started to hit her stride I was always following her to performances,” Edwards said.
“I’ve seen first-hand the ups and downs of the business and know you can’t listen to critics and can never be satisfied.”
And satisfaction is something Edwards is sure the audiences will be after The Rat Pack’s shows.
“We try to make the show our own big party that the audience is invited to,” he said.
“It’s three guys who are friends, on stage and singing to the audience. We want the audience to be part of the show.”