Catching Up With Alumni: Performer gets ‘Frank’ on stage

Warren native, CLHS grad brings Sinatra show home

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published June 1, 2018

 Bob Anderson, formerly of Warren, is known for his impressions of many singers, including Frank Sinatra,   Tony Bennett, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and Ray Charles.

Bob Anderson, formerly of Warren, is known for his impressions of many singers, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and Ray Charles.

Photo provided by Bob Anderson

“Catching Up with Alumni” highlights the accomplishments of past high school graduates. In this issue, we look at 1965 Center Line High School graduate and Las Vegas entertainer Bob Anderson.


DETROIT/WARREN/CENTER LINE — When Bob Anderson ventured out to Las Vegas after serving in the Vietnam War, his plan was to stay in town for one year.

But all bets were off when the Warren native found himself center stage, singing for his supper among the city’s famous strip of casinos and neon signs.

Anderson has made Las Vegas his home for the past few decades, entertaining as a celebrity impressionist who can become Tony Bennett, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond or Ray Charles at the drop of a piano note.

The 1965 Center Line High School graduate is returning to his roots. Start spreading the news, because at 8 p.m. June 16, Anderson will bring his show “FRANK … The Man, The Music” to the Detroit Opera House.

In the 90-minute show, which will be backed by Johnny Trudell and his orchestra, Anderson performs a re-enactment of Frank Sinatra and his hits, including “My Way,” “New York New York,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Fly Me to the Moon.” According to Anderson, the show gives generations of music lovers a chance to travel back to circa 1970 and relive the days of Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Anderson wrote and produces the show. “FRANK … The Man, The Music” is direct from the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, and Anderson promises he’s “singing the best” he ever has.

“It was just fun for me to do this production. I’m really looking forward to the engagement in Detroit,” the Las Vegas Entertainment Hall of Fame member said.

Anderson, who grew up at Frazho and Schoenherr roads in Warren, cites many reasons why Sinatra earned the nickname “The Chairman of the Board.”

“He’s just an absolute superb vocalist. His phrasing, his styling, his persona is exemplary,” Anderson said. “Frank Sinatra transcends every generation. I’ve traveled all over the world. Everybody knows him. He’s really in a class of his own.”

Anderson’s audition into the world of entertainment was out of the ordinary. He had taken a road trip out west in “an old, ugly Volkswagen Beetle” to Las Vegas. At the time, the CLHS alumnus sported a bit of a bohemian look, wearing longer hair, cut-off shorts and sandals.

When Anderson arrived in Sin City, the young man stopped inside the Sahara Hotel and Casino. It was the middle of the day and, as he sat inside the lounge, he could see Nancy Sinatra (Frank’s daughter) and the Everly Brothers rehearsing for their show that evening. According to Anderson, the Everly Brothers got into an argument with each other. When Nancy Sinatra tried to calm them down, the duo abruptly quit the show.

“There was total chaos,” Anderson recalled, as it was four hours until showtime. Anderson, who sang to his nieces and nephews when he babysat them as a teenager, but was not yet in show business, offered to be Nancy Sinatra’s opening act.

At first, the crew laughed at him. But when someone handed him a microphone, Anderson sang a few bars of  “Something Stupid.” He saved the day and was hired on the spot. With just minutes to spare, he quickly learned the choreography for his debut performance.

Anderson worked on his act and grew as a performer with his impressions and singing ability. When word got out about his talent, Anderson was booked on the talk show circuit and was a guest of Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, David Letterman and Regis Philbin.

He’s performed at the top of the Dunes, now the Bellagio Hotel, in Las Vegas, and his audience members have included the McGuire Sisters, Engelbert Humperdinck, Ann-Margret, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and others. Anderson also has performed on stages in Helsinki, Finland; Monte Carlo; Istanbul, Turkey; and Australia.

Plans are in the works for “FRANK … The Man, The Music” to hit the Broadway stage. The entertainer is also working on a documentary about “the golden days of the Las Vegas strip of the ’70s and ’80s.”

In the meantime, Andiamo Restaurant Group is presenting the June 16 show at the Detroit Opera House. Joe Vicari, president and CEO of Andiamo Restaurant Group, has been a follower of Anderson for many years —  the singer has previously performed at the Andiamo Showroom in Warren.

“If you are a Sinatra fan and you’ve never seen him, this will be the closest thing you’ll ever see in a performance,” said Vicari, who has watched Anderson onstage in Vegas. “It’s a re-enactment, not a caricature. That’s how I felt when I saw the show. I was so impressed with it.”

Vicari also saw Frank Sinatra in concert twice: once at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, and once at Pine Knob, which is now DTE Energy Music Theatre, in Clarkston.

“I think a lot of the music is timeless,” he said.

The Detroit Opera House is located at 1526 Broadway St. in Detroit. For ticket information, visit michiganopera.org or call (313) 237-SING (7464).