- Published on Thursday, 22 March 2012 22:00
- Written by Martin D Goodkin
Take 25 vintage songs sung by Frank Sinatra, stripped of their original musical arrangements, add a 14 piece band, a nightclub setting of the 50s, throw in 7 hunky guys who take their shirts off and 7 sexy women with skirts slit up to here and get them dancing with choreography by Twyla Tharp and you have "Come Fly Away".Twyla Tharp conceived, directed, wrote the book and choreographed the show and though the book is given short shrift it doesn't make a difference when 8 shirtless male dancers are out there strutting their stuff or the women are doing twists and turns that you just know aren't possible!
Each of the dancers, whether in solos, duets or group numbers get to shine, and each one does. When you have 7 couples on stage, each pair doing a different set of steps, you almost forget that Sinatra is singing his mantra "My Way". The lead dancers; Mallauri Esquibel, Ron Todorowski, Stephen Hanna, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Amy Ruggiero, Anthony Burrell, Matthew Stockwell Dibble and Meredith Miles along with the ensemle of Nathan Madded, MarceeaMoreno, Candy Olsen, Julius Anthony Rubio, Tanairi Sade Vazquez and Michael Wilaims are all strong dancers and the leads are double cast so each show can have a different line up but all deliver.
Twyla Tharp's choreography put the dancers through constantly busy, ever changing, movements that had audience members yelling a bravo here, applauding there or gasping at the twists, turns, tumbles, constant lifts and all standing when the entire cast comes out to dance while Sinatra sings "New York, New York". The audience, though being recognized by the dancers, feel as if 14 masters of their art are dancing for the joy of dancing and light up the theatre with their smiles and triumph!
The show’s score takes classic and newly discovered vocal performances from the Sinatra archives such as "Luck Be A Lady", "Let's Face The Music And Dance" mixed with "Fly Me To The Moon", "Pick Yourself Up", "Witchcraft, along with stand out arrangements from the past (Gordon Jenkins, Nelson Riddle, Neal Hefti, Billy May, Don Costa, Quincy Jones) and brand new charts for the 14 piece band by Dave Pierce, who also adds a surprising "Take Five" to the mix. Along the way four band members do solos that bring back the joy of the 'big band' era.
THE BAND Conductor/Piano : Rob Cookman Reeds: P. J. Perry, Tom Colclough, Julian Tanaka, Adam Schroeder Trumpts: Mike Herriott, Jim Keen, Sam Oatts Trombones: James Nelson, Mark J. Miller, Neil Nicholson Bass: CliftonKellem Guitar: Buddy Fambro Drums: Paul Ringenbach.
"Come Fly Away" runs for 80 minutes, without an intermission, and will be appearing in Tampa, Naples and Tallahassee, Florida, before continuing its tour across the States and up to the Northeast.
Next Show at the Arsht Performing Arts Center is "The Lion King" May 15-June 10