Concept and Book , Choreographed
and directed by Twyla Tharp
Music by Frank Sinatra
Produced by Broadway In Chicago
At the Bank of America Theatre, Chicago
Sensual dance and top-drawer swing band illuminates the stage in Come Fly Away.
Twyla Tharp sure love Fran Sinatra’s smooth tunes! She takes his songbook recordings and strips away most of the music (sans the strings) and adds a kiss-ass orchestra consisting of silver-haired veteran first-class musicians to make Come Fly Away work on stage. With 14 world -class dancers, many trained in classical ballet, she produces a sensual and seductive no dialogue “danecial.” Tharp’s visceral choreography depicts several couples at a New York night club. We see these lovers experience a first kiss, a first dance, and a bittersweet first good-bye. All the courtship rituals are vividly depicted in smooth movements.
Tharp’s choreography reminds me of Bob Fosse meets classical ballet in that arm movements, sensual body language work together with jumps, twirls, kicks and lifts. These wonderful and sexy dances were executed with precession and a smoothness that was magical. While Tharp tried to design the action of the movements with Sinatra’s lyrics, after the first 15 minutes, all the jumps, twirls and lifts together with the grouping of the women grew tedious as the repetitions became redundant. Still the grace and swagger of the dancers totally engaged most of the audience. More versatility in the choreography would have kept me in wonder. I particularly loved the spirited nimble, high octane dancing by Ron Todorowski’s Marty and his lovely partner Mallauri Eswuible’s Betsy. They landed “Let’s Fall in Love” and the cute “Pick Yourself Up” with zest and aplomb.
The terrific sounding band that gave life to the Sinatra songbook won me over. Besides doing Sinatra, this expert orchestra deftly nailed Count Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” as well as channeling Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond in the haunting “Take Five” jazz classic. I felt like I was at the Sands in Vegas seeing Sinatra again. Brings back found memories.
This 85 minute song and dance fest is thoroughly entertaining featuring exquisite dancing with a sexy flare to the rhythms of a great swing orchestra to the tunes of the fabulous Frank Sinatra! That’s enough to get anyone’s engine started. Come Fly Away is a rare treat. Through January 22, 2012
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Foe more info checkout the Come Fly Away page on theatreinchicago.com