Marquis Theatre, Broadway.
By Deborah Searle.
What a magical combination, Twyla Tharp choreography with Frank Sinatra music!
If you’re a fan of Sinatra, or a fan of Tharp, this show is for you. However, if you are looking for a typical Broadway musical, go and get tickets to one of the classics, as Come Fly Away, is not your average musical. In fact, I wouldn’t call it a musical, but more of a dance performance accompanied by some live music. There is a very simple story and minimal speech, but a whole lot of show stopping dancing.
Tharp’s cast consists of outstanding dancers with ample stage presence, sizzle and sass. All have impressive resumés and experience that shows. The story unfolds around eight main characters that enter a night club. As the night progresses, they meet, dance, flirt, and build and break down relationships. The set does not change, as the entire story is played out in the dance club.
The chemistry between the couples is hot and the quality of dancing is outstanding. As a dancer, I simply loved Come Fly Away, because of the dancing. The pas de deux work is impressive and the stamina and strength of the dancers cannot be flawed. Karine Plantadit as ‘Kate’ is made for the Broadway stage and one can tell that she was a soloist with the Ailey company for seven years. Holley Farmer as the sexy vixen ‘Babe’ is beautiful and her strong Merce Cunningham training (she was with his company for 12 years) shows. With her extensive modern dance background I did not expect her acting and characterization to be as convincing as it was, but she lived her character and lured us in. Farmer’s main partner John Selya, playing ‘Sid’, is a commanding and masculine dancer and a pleasure to watch also.
The stand out dancer of the production, however, is Charlie Neshyba-Hodges. As the love sick suitor for ‘Betsy’, played by the adorable Laura Mead, Charlie is an acrobatic dancer with fantastic training. His control and precision are impeccable and he performs incredibly difficult choreographic sequences with ease and pizzazz. There were moments where I actually gasped as he so impressed me with his talents. He really is a delight to watch.
The ensemble dancers are all talented also, with Meredith Miles catching my eye. She is beautiful on the stage and more than capable of a lead role.
Come Fly Away took me away. I wanted to be in the nightclub with the performers, enjoying the music, atmosphere and dance. I encourage dancers to visit the Marquis Theatre and enjoy the show.