Published On: Thu, Jul 1st, 2021

Clint Holmes and Billy Stritch Return to Boca Raton to Salute Nat King Cole

Renowned vocal stylist Clint Holmes and cabaret legend Billy Stritch will team up for a series of shows at the Wick Theater in Boca Raton providing a rare summer treat for South Florida music-lovers. “The Wick has turned out to be such a gem not only for the people who live there but for us – the entertainers who are always looking for a place to play for an appreciative crowd,” said Holmes from his Las Vegas home earlier this week.

The show, slated for July 8, 9 and 10 and appropriately entitled “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” shines a spotlight on the musical works of Nat King Cole, who has long been a hero of the show’s stars. “Nat King Cole was one of my father’s favorite singers, so I grew up listening to his music,” said Clint Holmes. “For my Dad, it was Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine – those were his guys – and I relate to Nat above and beyond his music. The breakthroughs that he was a part of for black entertainers of the day are a big part of why he’s a hero to us, both musically and culturally.”

Clint Holmes

Both Clint Holmes and Billy Stritch appeared at the Wick in April, at which time the theater’s lobby had been re-purposed for socially-distanced cabaret events. The July shows will move to the theater’s stage, better suited for a concert event. “It’s always exciting when you are invited back to a venue so quickly and, in this case, it happened to be on the heels of one of the most enjoyable weekends I’ve had in awhile,” Clint remarked. “It’s a wonderful cherry on top for me to come back with someone who I love so much, as I do Billy Stritch.”

Over the years, the friends frequently talked about working together but their first on-stage pairing was not planned in advance. One night when Holmes was playing the legendary New York jazz club Birdland, he invited Stritch on stage for “Route 66.” The impromptu jam left both men with the notion that Cole’s songbook would provide great source material for a collaboration.

Billy StritchWhile the show is making its Boca Raton debut, it’s no start-up enterprise. “Straighten Up and Fly Right”’s stint at Birdland in New York won’s 2019 award for Best Tribute Show. The production has also played San Francisco and Las Vegas. While the show does bear a tribute label, the creative forces behind it aren’t content to simply recreate Nat King Cole’s recordings. Audiences should expect to hear favorites from Nat King Cole’s repertoire re-imagined in a way that’s fresh but still honors the singer and his music. While Clint takes some solos (his favorite is “Nature Boy”) and Billy takes his own (such as “Somewhere Along the Way”), they promise to re-create the magical “Route 66” jam that started it all. Holmes’ musical director Christian Tamburr is responsible for most of the masterful arrangements that highlight the show and he will join the star duo on stage at the Wick, playing vibes and piano. A percussionist and bass player round out the quintet. 

“Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Music of Nat King Cole” features songs like “Unforgettable,” “Mona Lisa” and “L-O-V-E” when it comes to the Wick Theatre, 7901 N Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33487 at 8:00 PM each evening on July 8, 9 and 10. All seating is reserved. Tickets are priced at $85 plus a nominal ticketing fee and may be purchased online via the Wick’s box office at or by phone at (561) 995-2333 during the hours Monday-Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

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