It’s 1970 inside the Stackner Cabaret these days, thanks to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s new production of Armen Pandora’s “Dino! An Evening with Dean Martin.”

Directed by Jonathan Hetler, the show stars Broadway veteran Tally Sessions in the title role, which he inhabits quite convincingly. Sessions is accompanied by pianist and guitarist PJ Ju, who has also served as musical director and arranger. Ju doesn’t utter any lines, but interacts with the Sessions character throughout the show, while adding a wonderfully elegant “lounge piano.”

Sessions creates a warm and affable Martin, comfortably and conversationally addressing the audience, telling the compelling story of Martin’s life and his circuitous journey to becoming a member of the famous Rat Pack.

It explains and makes a masterful impression of the persona and the slightly scrambled laconic drag Martin created for this character. He sports Martin’s signature black hair, curled across his forehead, and talks about how those traits helped him build a career.

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