NY1 Theater Review: "Come Fly Away"
After scoring a hit on Broadway in 2002 with "Movin' Out," director-choreographer Twyla Tharp is looking to work the same magic with the music of Frank Sinatra in a new show called "Come Fly Away." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
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Twyla Tharp’s uber-dance show "Come Fly Away" is all about muscles and energy, and being, as Sinatra sings, "king of the hill, top of the heap." With 15 performers and 19 live musicians accompanying actual vocals of Sinatra classics, the production sings and soars to unimagined heights. On the dance scale, it's a 10, but as musical theater, it gets a lower rating.
Tharp's choreography is predictably stunning. Broadway had a taste of her artistry when she took on the music of Billy Joel in rather similar fashion for "Movin' Out" nearly eight years ago, but there’s a key difference. "Movin Out" went a step further by overlaying a story on the Joel songbook.
Tharp’s "book" for "Come Fly Away," if you could call it that, isn’t nearly as ambitious. Tied together by the thinnest thread, the disparate songs illustrate basic emotions experienced by four couples in a nightclub setting. Though the individual numbers are thrilling and brilliantly executed, the total experience is less engaging than one would expect.
Still, there’s plenty of bang for your buck here, as there's more than 30 Sinatra gems, including "My Way," "Summer Wind" and "New York, New York." The show has a strong visceral appeal, with all that talent strutting its stuff. The musicians and a female vocalist follow Sinatra's lead with great style and skill.
The performers are phenomenal. Besides being technically consummate, their dancing is loaded with personality. It's another nod to Tharp's genius in casting and choreographing to her dancers' unique strengths.
Comic relief arrives with Laura Mead and Charlie Neshyba-Hodges as a pair of innocents hopelessly head over heals and heals over head in love.
The wonderfully athletic John Selya, who stunned in "Movin' Out," repeats the thrill here with the gorgeous and elegant Holley Farmer.
Another terrific "Movin' Out" alum, Keith Roberts, is paired with a dynamo named Karine Plantadit, and their explosive duet to "That's Life" sets the place on fire.
Musical theater purists might balk that "Come Fly Away" belongs in a dance concert hall instead of on a Broadway stage, but with so much talent under one roof, it's hard to quibble with the address.