When Steve Kazlauskas was a teenager, he didn’t listen to much Frank Sinatra music. He preferred Dean Martin. But based on his show, “Echoes of Sinatra,” coming to the Berrie Center at this weekend, you’d never know it.
During the show, Kazlauskas sings Sinatra hits that span the performer’s career and shares stories and trivia about Sinatra’s life.
His passion for Sinatra started when he was 18 years old, “when a girl broke my heart. So I wrote a poem.”
“I wasn’t a singer, but I had a friend who was in a band who suggested we turn the poem into a song and that I sing it.”
After someone at a performance mentioned that Kazlauskas’s voice sounded similar to the classic crooner’s, he was inspired to make music his career.
About a month before Frank Sinatra retired from performing, Kazlauskas wrote him a letter thanking him for inspiring his career choice. He was “shocked to get a letter back with advice on working hard and really creating a lasting career making music.”
Kazlauskas really took Sinatra’s advice to heart. He has been performing Sinatra tribute shows ever since, and when Ol’ Blue Eyes came out of retirement, Kazlauskas saw him perform 15 times.
“Watching him was wonderful, and during my performances, I’m always so excited to sing his songs.” Kazlauskas said his family-friendly show is a way to keep Sinatra’s memory alive. “I’ve heard young people in the audience of my shows talking about not knowing who Frank Sinatra was, so I’m always happy to see grandparents with their grandkids in the crowd. I think it’s important to let Sinatra’s legacy live on and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
He added, “Plus, I’m grateful to get the chance to entertain, so I make the shows fun for everyone in the audience, no matter how old they are.”
“Echoes of Sinatra” is playing at Ramapo College’s Berrie Center this Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 - $26. Find out more information here.