Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quick Hit Theater Review: Come Fly Away -- The Bushnell

Tanairi Sade Vazquez and Ron Todorowski in COME FLY AWAY. Photo: © 2011 Joan Marcus 
Come Fly Away
Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by Twyla Tharp
Vocals by Frank Sinatra
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts 

Summary:
Dance Legend Twila Tharp creates another Broadway dance musical in the tradition of her successful Movin’ Out (featuring songs by Billy Joel), turning this time to more than 25 tunes made famous by Frank Sinatra. An ensemble of 14 dancers performs the choreography with a live band on stage, accompanied by the recorded vocals of Sinatra. There isn’t any dialogue and no plot to speak of. The lyrcis of the songs provide some guidance for the choreography, which loosely follows four couples falling in and out of love in a setting resembling a night club (James Youmains designs the set). 

Highlights:
Dancers Anthony Burrell and Ashley Blair Fitzgerald stand out from the fine ensemble with their excellent stage presence as they perform seemingly effortless turns, leaps and lifts. The 13-member band, conducted by Musical Director Rob Cookman, swings (especially those horns) in a brisk 75-minute performance. 

Lowlights:
Well, there’s really no plot. The main dancers are listed by character names in the program, but seriously, we never know what their names are or what really is taking place. If you spend too much time trying to assign a story to what you are seeing, you’ll miss the best part – dance.

Some of the choreography seems misogynistic – women being felt up, treated roughly, thrown over the shoulders of men vying for them, etc. A technical glitch delayed opening night on Tuesday by about 30 minutes (and a zipper glitch provided a moment of embarrassment for Burrell). 

Information:
The show closes the 2011-2012 Broadway season at the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford, and runs through June 3. Remaining performances are tonight at 7:30, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 pm and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 pm. Tickets range from $17 to $72 and are available at 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.org.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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