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Theatre Review (LA): Come Fly Away Sinatra and Tharp at the Pantages

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Come Fly Away is a tribute by one artist of another. Twyla Tharp has been choreographing dances to Frank Sinatra’s songs starting in 1976 with the premiere of One More Frank, a duet created for American Ballet Theatre, performed by Ms. Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov. This collaboration was followed by Nine Sinatra Songs, a piece for 14 dancers in 1982. This was followed by Sinatra Suite, a duet featuring Mr. Baryshnikov and Elaine Kudo in 1984. This last piece was performed at the Kennedy Center at Sinatra’s request when he was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor.

As a chroeographer, Ms. Tharp now brings us Come Fly Away, using the music and vocal stylings of Sinatra and the brilliant dancing of 14 dancers in a production that comes to Los Angeles straight from Broadway and the Las Vegas production at the Wynn.

The setting is a crowded nightclub where four couples fall in and out of love during a song and dance filled evening. Using the vocal framework of original Sinatra recordings, Tharp performs with a live on-stage band (minus strings) and the audience is swept away into the world that was Sinatra by Tharp and her brilliantly talented dancers. She uses such classics as “Fly Me To The Moon”, “My Way”, and “That’s Life” to drive the story forward.

Some might fault the fact that there is a certain sameness to the dances, which might be expected given the fact it is all the work of one choreographer (would someone fault Fosse the same way?). But the dances each have their individual style. You may not get the variety of Burn The Floor which thrilled audiences earlier this season, but the shear beauty and athleticism of thee dancers guarantees an exciting and exhilarating experience in the theatre.

The principal dancers included Mathew Stockwell Dibble, Cody Green, Marielys Molina, John Selya, and Ron Todorowski. Also staring on tour as principals are Meredith Miles, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Martin Harvey, Ramona Kelly, and Christopher Vo. Cody Green as Sid and Meredith Miles excelled in their routines as did Marceea Moreno and Martin Harvey in “That’s Life”.

Come Fly Away is playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles from Oct 25th to Nov. 6th

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