A night at Barrymore at Royal House Resort to celebrate Deven May’s birthday turned into a swanky jam session involving a 95-year-old piano ace performing in the hotel lobby.
He’s Joe Vento, whose stage career hearkens to the days when he backed Frank Sinatra in the heyday of the Rat Pack and once played with Doc Severinsen’s band on “The Tonight Show.”
May, who plays Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys,” was celebrating his 42nd birthday on Wednesday evening. He met Vento on the patio of the Barrymore bar and restaurant during Vento’s break between sets. Soon, the wizened tickler of ivories was fairly holding court with the young Strip entertainers.
This cluster of guys included “Jersey Boys” cast members Jeff Leibow, Rob Marnell, Graham Fenton (three pieces of the central Four Seasons lineup) and Jason Martinez and Chris Fore (who perform in the show’s ensemble). The crew followed Vento back to the piano, where he led a joyful if rambling medley of Sinatra classics. He played past midnight, tossing in such warm Sinatra anecdotes as, “If you were not in perfect time with him, he fired you. On the spot. He’d say, ‘Thanks, kid. Now go home.’ ”
Vento performs regularly at Royal House’s lobby and lounge. If you’re still hitting all the right notes at age 95, you are one blessed person, to be sure.