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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October, 2003, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
'Virtual Sinatra' hits US stage
Frank Sinatra
The show will use never-before-seen footage from the 1950s
A show which uses modern technology to recreate performances by Frank Sinatra opens in New York on Tuesday.

Frank Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way uses film, video and a live orchestra to create the impression of a performance by the late singer.

Newly-unearthed film of the singer will be projected across moving 3D panels to create a 30ft tall virtual Sinatra.

The show, at the Radio City Music Hall, is opening almost a week late due to technical problems.

The show uses 17 projectors and 11 screens, as well as banks of computers.

"The challenge is co-ordinating all of the material to time-code so it plays simultaneously," said Des McAnuff, the show's director. "It is a technical nightmare."

1950s footage

"In a large Broadway or West End show you would have some 80 or 90 "automated moves" and in this show we have close to 200," Mr McAnuff said.

Sinatra, one of the most famous singers in America, died in 1998 after a long illness.

The footage in the new show includes 35mm film - shot in the 1950s - from the Sinatra family vaults, which has never been seen before.

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 rotascoping.

The show is the latest tribute to an artists still revered as an American icon.

But not all are happy with the way Sinatra is being brought back to life.

"It's sort of like turning Sinatra into a Walt Disney show," said Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis.

"It's the way you would see a holographic ghost in a haunted house... it bothers me to that degree," Mr DeCurtis said.

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