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NY1 Theater Review: 'Fly By Night'

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"Fly By Night" is a new musical dealing with a love triangle between two sisters and an unhappy sandwich maker and it's set against the backdrop of the big blackout of 1965. Roma Torre filed the following review.

On the surface “Fly By Night” is cliched and rather hokey, but it's also impossible to dismiss. The show's creators and fine company have concocted an impressive mix of raw talent and heart. And while overlong, it's still an engaging work that comes in for a hard emotional landing.

Spanning a year encompassing the '65 blackout, it's a heavy book musical cobbled together with stereotyped characters. There's a starry eyed actress from the Midwest destined to make it big in New York. Her unambitious sister is perfectly content to waitress. There's a sandwich-making love interest who's finding his voice through song; and his newly widowed father's in perpetual mourning.

A narrator, doubling as minor characters including a gypsy fortuneteller, gives us clunky metaphorical motifs involving stars, fate and the interconnectedness of life - and that should be enough to send savvy theatregoers running for the hills. But, surprisingly, it kinda works.

The show, developed over some 5 years by Yale grads Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly and Michael Mitnick features some catchy tunes.

And the solid cast is peppered with a trio of polished veterans. Peter Friedman doesn't have much to do as the grieving father but he brings great pathos to the part. Michael McCormick nails it as a lovably crabby deli owner and Henry Stram works wonders as the intrusive narrator.

But the main focus is a love triangle. Patti Murin specializes in spunky parts and she's terrific here. As her more sober-minded sister, Allison Case lends the story dramatic heft and Adam Chanler-Berat, so charming in Peter And The Starcatcher, scores again as an endearing misfit.

The authors of "Fly By Night" might want you to think the fault is in the stars, but the flaws in the musical are really of their own making. Yet despite its weaknesses, the production under Carolyn Cantor's smart direction really does manage to fly.

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