Monday, May 14, 2012

Come Fly Away, PlayhouseSquare

Let’s start with a confession: I love the music of Frank Sinatra. His music is perfect when you feel on top of the world (“Fly Me to the Moon”). But there’s no other pop singer who has ever explored sadness with the depth and subtlety that Sinatra did, especially in songs such as “One for My Baby.”

And in Come Fly Away, now at PlayhouseSquare, you essentially have a Frank Sinatra concert, with his recorded voice matched up with an intense live band on stage. The mixture is so remarkably seamless you find yourself looking for the Man himself, only to remember that he adjourned to the great bandstand in the sky almost 15 years ago.

Of course, the wonderful new element that’s added to that music in this show is the genius of Twyla Tharp—who conceived, choreographed and directs. And the result is a captivating production from start to finish.

On a nightclub-style stage appropriately dominated by the band, with a bar on one side and a couple tables on the other, the dancers have plenty of room to strut their awesome stuff. Each of the more than 25 songs is danced and acted out, with some actually portraying mini-storylines of sexual attraction, disappointment and jealousy.

This is an 80-minute ride that enables the hoofers to show off their modern and interpretive dance chops in a way most of us have never seen. Lithe, muscular and evocative, the dances respect the music while contributing their own layer of meaning to Sinatra classics such as “My Way” and “Luck Be a Lady.”

In short, Come Fly Away spins a succulent blend of music and movement that will transport any Sinatra fan. And when the backdrop of stars align at the conclusion, you are reminded once more that these tunes must have been heaven sent.

Come Fly Away
Through May 20 at the Palace Theatre, PlayhouseSquare,
1518 Euclid Avenue, 216-241-6000

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