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‘Come Fly Away’ Has Troubled Lift-Off on Broadway

ComeFly124rThe promotions for Come Fly Away lead theatergoers to believe they are seeing a show celebrating Frank Sinatra. He’s in the show, in essence, but in reality Come Fly Away is all about choreographer Twyla Tharp.

Sinatra plays second fiddle to an amazing dance production with little story, and not enough aesthetic pizzazz.

Four couples meet, fight, make-up, and/or break-up on the dance floor at a swinging nightclub, and it all happens to the sultry tunes made famous by Sinatra.

Whether or not the songs justify the inkling of a plot going on around them, Twyla’s troupe works the stage with passion and charisma. However, after watching similar dances executed to the sound of the same artist (34 songs are stretched across the two hours!), it becomes increasingly bland and tiresome.

Despite the talented 19-piece band, nothing about this performance feels live.

Neither the set nor the lights thrilled, and one might feel as though they are catching an incredibly high-quality episode of Dancing with the Stars.

Tharp’s Movin’ Out felt more intimate because the award-winning musical featured a live singer providing Billy Joel’s awesome vocals.

The track overlay on Come Fly Away feels like a cheat, especially with an audience filled with Sinatra fans, all of whom have shelves lines with every one of his albums.

The little Sinatra music performed by Michael Feinstein in the short-run of All About Me was more interesting, to say the least.

The most enjoyable aspect of this dance-fest was Charlie Neshyba-Hodges and Laura Mead, the stand-out couple who brought the night’s few laughs and much of the romance.

Neshyba-Hodges moves with precision and is amazingly attuned to gravity. He moves across the floor as a skipping stone would skim water; his feet lightly kiss the ground every step of the way. Mead and Neshyba-Hodges made “Moonlight Becomes You” and “You Make Me Feel So Young” enjoyable to watch.

Sadly, Come Fly Away did not escape the cliché attached to any Sinatra revue.

The predictable final numbers are “My Way” and “New York, New York”, and nothing about the dancing in either one is much different from that of the entire production.

A nice hats-off moment to Ol’ Blue Eyes might convince some Sinatra die-hards to fly away with the show, but Broadway musical fans will leave somewhat unfulfilled.

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