For those of you who are fans of true Vegas-style up-close-and-personal entertainment, there’s news coming out the D hotel and casino downtown that is positively “Scinta-llating.”
That is, as of April 5, the name of “The Scintas” show at the hotel has been changed to “Frankie Scinta.” And the push to put Frankie to the forefront of the family in a headlining position is part of the D’s efforts to take Vegas back to the future with the personal touch that the city has been missing as of late.
“The D is trying to keep the spirit of Vegas alive,” he explains. “With the name change, we are also presenting a whole new show. After doing a lot of market research, the hotel learned that people want to see more of me. They can see that I’m kind of the heart and soul of the Scintas. I’m now doing less impressions and more music in my own voice and style. I do the songs of everyone from Bruno Mars to Avicci to Coldplay along with my staple impressions of the classics such as Ray Charles, Dean Martin, and Tom Jones, the guys that made this town. The show is a journey from the icons to the artists of today. That’s what sets me apart.
“My brother Joe and ‘adopted’ brother Pete O’Donnell, as well as singer Janien Valentine and our band, are all very much a part of the show -- even more than they were before -- and it still has the flavor of ‘us,’” he adds. “However, there’s more ad-lib, more interaction with the audience and more movement on stage. We take vaudeville and mix it with music on the charts. But it’s my name that is on the billboard, which puts a lot of weight on my shoulders. The hotel felt that people seeing the show for the first time and saw four people on the billboard wouldn’t have a real concept of what kind of show we do. I was the last one who wanted to make the change but my brother, Joe, was the first to say, ‘This is the way to go; you’re making the right decision.’”
Scinta and company put the new show together themselves but he says that he was the one who chose the pieces because he knows what the audience likes. Everything has the Scinta stamp on it. Scinta notes that they don’t just copy songs, they do our own feel.
“We take a song that’s okay and turn it into a production,” he laughs.
Yes, Scinta, who plays just about every string and percussion instrument there is and learned to play the guitar when he was four even plays the spoons on an Avicci song. And a new instrument that will be in the act is a guitar that once belonged to Garth Brooks.
“I went to see Garth’s show at the Wynn,” Scinta explains. “My brother, Tony, was his bodyguard when he was in Las Vegas. Garth knew I was there and asked to meet me after the show. So I went backstage and told him how amazing he was and how he had blown me away with just himself and his guitar on stage. He told me that his guitars were made for him and he gave me the one that he had played in the show that night.”
Another factor that adds to the well-rounded aspect of the show is the presence of singer Janien Valentine, who has replaced the Scintas’ younger sister, Chrissi, who has been suffering from vocal cord problems for the past five years.
“No one will ever replace my baby sister,” Scinta says softly. “She had a unique talent on stage and an incredible voice and presentation. I miss her terribly. But you can’t look left or right – you have to look straight ahead and go on. Having a woman in the show allows me to be a little funnier and flirtatious. Janien works off me very well. It gives me a different attitude on stage. And she adds so much to the show. She has a great voice and comedic ability and she is no stranger to the stage. She was with Clint Holmes in his show at Harrah’s and she has her own show called “Paparazzi” with two young male opera singers, which she will perform in the once-in-a-blue moon when we’re off.”
Scinta admits that of the three natural siblings, Joey always liked the business and Chrissi loved it, but he is the one who has always lived to be on stage. He states that he has never had another kind of job and will do this until he dies. One of the most fortunate thing about the Scintas’ show, he says, is that it attracts all demographics and ages. And, above all, their audiences leave the room feeling like they’ve been truly entertained.
“On today’s entertainment scene, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors,” he candidly maintains. “It’s not like the scene of yesterday when artists honed their talent through years of performing and learned how to really entertain an audience. Today artists have hit records. They would be lost on stage with just a microphone and a flashlight. I think that people want to be entertained. I think that they want that personal touch and that they’ve been greatly missing it.
“Gambling and entertainment made Las Vegas the one-of-kind destination it was,” he sums up. “I think that Downtown is the catalyst for Las Vegas. People can walk and be entertained seven nights a week. It has changed 180 percent – it is no longer seedy; it is safe. It’s fun for people of all ages. I think even people who have seen the Scintas 20 times in the past will come and see our show and find it to be one like they’ve never seen before. If Las Vegas is to continue to be the entertainment capital of the world, it needs that personal touch, not Cirque shows.
For Scinta, it’s still all in the family.