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Babbaro gains a powerful partner

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Published: Sun, March 10, 2019 @ 12:05 a.m.


Angelo Babbaro has a voice that links him to Frank Sinatra.

Now, he has a representative to go with it.

The Canfield-based singer – dubbed “The Voice of Frank Sinatra” – is now working with Elliot Weisman, who managed the late Sinatra for more than 30 years.

Weisman caught Babbaro in a performance at the Boca Lago Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., last month and was impressed. Afterward, he invited Babbaro and his manager, James Sabatine, to meet at his house a few days later, where the three men agreed to form a working relationship.

Weisman wants to book Babbaro in areas where the Sinatra style has the most support, including south Florida and East Coast cities. He told Sabatine that the style is poised for a comeback.

Having Weisman in his corner is a huge career boost, said Sabatine.

“He can open doors that we never knew existed,” he said. “When you book Sinatra for so many years, you build up a lot of friendships.”

Sabatine is a Mahoning Valley resident who splits his time between the Youngstown area and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. When he learned that Weisman lives near his Florida residence, Sabatine contacted him and invited him to Babbaro’s performance on Feb. 22.

“He could not believe what he heard,” said Sabatine, referring to Weisman’s reaction. “He said Angelo sounds more like Sinatra than anybody on the planet. [Babbaro] has Sinatra’s voice. He doesn’t try to copy it, and he’s not an impersonator. He’s just being himself but he just happens to sound like Sinatra.”

As for Babbaro, he said he is excited and honored to have Weisman’s stamp of approval. “Outside of Sinatra’s children, Elliot is the closest living thing to Sinatra,” he said.

Weisman, who is in his 80s but in good health, also managed the vocal duo of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme in their heyday, as well as Liza Minelli and Don Rickles. Weisman is the president of Premier Artists Services.

He also is the co-author of “The Way It Was: My Life with Frank Sinatra” (2017). The book is a candid, insider’s look at the final decades of Sinatra’s life.

Sabatine said Weisman’s involvement is an affirmation of Babbaro’s talent. “I think Angelo is the real deal, and with what Elliot said, I feel even better,” he said.

Babbaro has spent most of his adult life perfecting his voice, but didn’t launch a professional singing career until a little over a decade ago.

Since then, his schedule has taken him across the country. He has honed his performance skills and stage presence as a member of Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack show, which he joined four years ago.

Babbaro’s first mission with the show was a 22-state theater tour a few years ago. Up next is an eight-day run in Florida starting later this month.

“Then, over the next four months, we will be in Philadelphia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Iowa, Boston, Rhode Island and Atlantic City,” said Babbaro. “Last weekend, we had two shows in Long Island.”

Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack shows average more than 2,000 in attendance, he said.

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