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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Sinatra to make West End 'return'
Frank Sinatra
Sinatra died in 1998 after a long illness
Singer Frank Sinatra is heading to London's West End - seven years after his death.

Sinatra At The London Palladium, which opens in February, will use technology to bring the singer on stage with live musicians and dancers.

The ensemble cast will perform live in front of home movie footage of Sinatra projected onto screens in the theatre.

The 5m show follows Sinatra's life story, featuring songs such as New York, New York and Come Fly With Me.

Sinatra's family have provided the film footage that will be projected across moving 3D panels to create a 20ft tall virtual Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra's granddaughter AJ Azzarto
Sinatra's granddaughter AJ Azzarto is supporting the project

The footage had to be laboriously cut out frame by frame, then a new backdrop added, which creates the ghostly moving image seen on the screen. The process is known as rotoscoping.

A significant amount of the material was filmed on 35 mm film by Sinatra himself in the late 1950s.

Sinatra's granddaughter, by his first wife Nancy Barbato, said the legendary singer would have approved.

I'm delighted to have my grandfather back in London
AJ Azzarto, Sinatra's granddaughter

AJ Azzarto, 31, said: "I'm delighted to have my grandfather back in London and I'm sure he would have been very happy to be back too.

"He loved this place so much. I'm sure he would have been grateful for this opportunity."

Of the show, she said: "It's as if you are watching the concert because you are seeing footage of him in his prime, heard as if he is performing in front of you.

"It's not at all ghostly in any way. Even if it's in an arena it's as if he's singing to you personally."

An earlier version of the production was tried out at the Radio City Music Hall in New York in 2003, where it played a two-week sell out season.

First performance

A new creative team has been brought in for the latest version.

It will be directed by David Leveaux whose work includes Broadway productions of musicals including Fiddler on the Roof and Nine, as well as comedies such as Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing.

Leveaux said he was a "confirmed Sinatra addict" and became set on the idea as soon as he heard the "magic name".

He said: "In many ways we're going into brand new territory in terms of the theatre show."

Sinatra's first UK performances were at the London Palladium, where he played from 10 July to 23 July 1950 and he returned to play there in November 1975.

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