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Come Fly With Me (Come Fly Away)

42 posts in this topic

Cristian, I look for Cox's name in each of the reviews but so far have not yet found it. All the dancers have been given "names," but some appear to be characters (although 2-dimensional, according to Acocella) while others may be primarily for background. Cox may be one of those. The leads are, apparently, all older dancers (3 of them in their 40s).

Cox is a principal swing (first cast came from the Atlanta show). He is Marty the bartender on Wed and Sat matinees.

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I haven't seen "Come Fly With Me" but I think that maybe it's better to see the show without thinking of any of the Tharp's work for modern dance and ballet companies. If you do, you're probably likely to find the show recycled and trite.

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Apollinaire Scherr expands on her Financial Times review of "Come Fly Away" in a post over at her ArtsJournal blog, Foot in Mouth: Twyla Tharp's "Come Fly Away": subterranean homesick blues

She addresses the divergence of critical opinion about the work's merits, and offers a few tart words on the Macauley / Isherwood contretemps:

Both critics were at their worst, with Isherwood equivocating before realizing what he was up against and Macaulay resorting to the sort of surliness that sours debate.

She also amplifies her own assessment, and specifically addresses some of the main complaints about the work -- the perceived "flatness" of the characters, the lack of a storyline, and the busyness of the choreography.

Scherr frequently uses her blog to add an addendum to one of her FT reviews -- either to provide additional detail, mull over insights that she hadn't fully worked out before her FT deadline, or to address issues raised by the performance that wouldn't be appropriate for a review -- and her posts there are always worth a read.

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This has become a discussion of the critics: their responses to the show and to one another.

Has anyone actually seen it?

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I finally got a chance to see this show last night. I had mixed feelings about it, and for the most part I enjoyed the second half more than the first. I thought a lot of the choreography in the first act was simplistic and generic. Much of it could have been easily executed by a mediocre regional ballet company. I guess I'm so used to seeing bravura choreography that I have difficulty enjoying more simplisitc, less difficult choreorgraphy. I believe that Tharp's choices regarding the choreography were driven by the reality that thesse dancers must perform 6 times per week, and many of her lead performers are not youngsters. In particular, there were times that I thought Keith Roberts looked like he was nearly out of gas. The lack of a plot didn't bother me in the least. I prefer to think of the show as a series of dance vignettes. In my opinion, there was no need to even give these "characters" names in the playbill. I enjoyed the choregraphy more in the second act, which focused on pdds. For me, the standout dance performance of the evening was That's Life, wtth Roberts and Plandatit. I had seen this number, from Sinatra Suite, performed at ABT a few years ago. The ABT performances were polite and genteel, but never caught fire. There was plenty of fire last night in this brilliantly executed pdd by performers who thankfully understood how to convey the character of the dance. I thought Plandatit was quite wonderful, as was Holly Farmer. On balance, I thought the show was entertaining, but perhaps not for an avid dance aficianado. It was a pleasure to hear a live orchestra play the Sinatra songbook. The insertion of Take Five was bizarre. I would have been happier without the female vocalist; her vocals, in my opinion detracted from the songs. It is unfortunate that Tharp decided to pander to the lowest common denominator in the audience by having her dancers strip down to their underwear. The lowest point in the show was when Plandatit crawled across the stage on all fours. Ms. Tharp was seated on the aisle taking copious notes. I was seated in the orchestra, and numerous rows in the back in the center and on the sides were empty. The audience seemed to enjoy the show immensely, and people in my vicinity who seemed to be dance newbies were blown away by the choreography and the dancers.

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I didn't see Susan Stroman's "Contact," but as an all-dance work that was presented in a mostly straight theater venue, I wonder if there was a similar disjunction in the reviews.

I don't remember the reviews for "Conact," but I did see it in its original incarnation at the tiny Mitzi Newhouse theatre (less than 300 seats), the transferred version at the Vivian Beaumont theatre (over a thousand seats) and the video recording of the national tour of the piece. I am also very familiar with the venue and dancers that the third of the three acts is based on. By far, it was most effective in the small, Newhouse theatre. The more for-profit the production got and the larger the venues got, the more emotional intimacy and life got sucked out of it.

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More linkage, this time with video:

From WNYC's culture page: Maintaining Dance Machines In 'Come Fly Away'

There's a brief write-up (by Sarah Muller) of the dancers' daily routines plus a video with clips from the show and interviews with Karine Plantadit and Charlie Neshyba-Hodges (who is sitting in front of a very impressive collection of Pez dispensers ...)

A review from NY1, also with video clips from the show: NY1 Theater Review: "Come Fly Away"

A bevy of clips on the "Come Fly Away" page on Broadway.com

And finally, also from Broadway.com, the "Word of Mouth" review by Deanna, Joe, and Phyllis. One thumb up, two thumbs down. I love these guys. Phyllis' "meh" shrug near the end really is worth a thousand words. Go to Broadway.com's

for higher quality video.

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That "Word of Mouth" video was interesting. Thank you, Kathleen, for posting it and the other links. With the talking muted, I found I could focus more on the dancing.

It seems to me that the steps and movements --many of which came directly from the ballet vocabulary -- were performed in a manner that seemed to call attention to the force and energy required -- eg: the barrel turns; the way the woman hurled herself in the air to be caught by per partner; the emphatic way developpe is done. My mind went to the "I Can Do That" number from Fosse's Sweet Charity: not as to steps themselves but as to the way they are performed.

Ballet per se, it seems to me, tends to try to hide or camouflage the difficulty and soften the impression of the strength and force needed to perform such steps. That makes the movements themselves even more amazing, to me at least.

Is one of the characteristics of a "Broadway Style" a calling attention to difficulty and effort. Is it what a dance director asks from his dancers? Is it actually what the Broadway dance audience is attracted to?

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Thanks for your review, abatt. Would be interested to hear from others who have seen the show.

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That "Word of Mouth" video was interesting. Thank you, Kathleen, for posting it and the other links. With the talking muted, I found I could focus more on the dancing.

It seems to me that the steps and movements --many of which came directly from the ballet vocabulary -- were performed in a manner that seemed to call attention to the force and energy required -- eg: the barrel turns; the way the woman hurled herself in the air to be caught by per partner; the emphatic way developpe is done. My mind went to the "I Can Do That" number from Fosse's Sweet Charity: not as to steps themselves but as to the way they are performed.

Ballet per se, it seems to me, tends to try to hide or camouflage the difficulty and soften the impression of the strength and force needed to perform such steps. That makes the movements themselves even more amazing, to me at least.

Is one of the characteristics of a "Broadway Style" a calling attention to difficulty and effort. Is it what a dance director asks from his dancers? Is it actually what the Broadway dance audience is attracted to?

Were you perhaps referring to "I Can Do That" from "Chorus Line"?

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Were you perhaps referring to "I Can Do That" from "Chorus Line"?
Right, mimsyb. Thanks for the correction. I was actually visualizing the number when I typed the wrong title. :blush:

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The Tony Award nominations were announced today. Come Fly Away received two nominations- one for Karin Plantadit (spell?) for best supporting actress in a musical, the other for Twyla Tharp for best choreography. It failed to receive a best musical nom.

On the other hand, it was a great day for Bill T. Jones. His Fela! received 11 nominations.

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I was just reading a Q&A in New York Magazine with Ira Glass ("This American Life") and came across this:

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?

American Idiot, and I'm still sad I never saw Spring Awakening. I took my dad to Come Fly Away, which I thought was a cynical, dull, and weirdly dirty piece of crap — and I'm not even someone who thinks things are "dirty" — and I would've walked out except my dad liked it.

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Looks like Tywla has found another venue for her show Come Fly Away. Steve Wynn's hotel in Las Vegas will be presenting a show by Twyla called Sinatra Dance With Me. Based on what I read, it sounds like a shortened version of the show that just closed on Broadway. There is no info on who will be dancing in the show.

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Most of the Broadway cast of Come Fly Away is in the Vegas version of the show.

http://www.vegasnews.com/36621/sinatra-dance-with-me-announces-las-vegas-cast.html

I saw Come Fly Away on Broadway and absolutely loved it!! I have admired most of cast since I first saw them in Movin' Out and seeing them again in CFA was such a treat. I think this show was very under-appreciated on Broadway and a little misunderstood. A lot of people went into the theater thinking they were going to see a musical about the life of Frank Sinatra, and they got a show that not only had nothing to do with Sinatra's life, but it was entirely dancing and had no dialogue. I think that was a big issue with the show's lack of success on Broadway, and that it was not advertised in the right way. However, I think Vegas is the perfect place for it, and Sinatra: Dance With Me has received fabulous reviews. The show is scheduled to run until Jan 29, but I wouldn't be surprised if they extended the run. A while ago there was talk of a national tour of the show, and as of now Come Fly Away is scheduled to run at the Four Seasons Center in Toronto, Canada in August of 2011.

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Most of the Broadway cast of Come Fly Away is in the Vegas version of the show.

http://www.vegasnews...vegas-cast.html

I saw Come Fly Away on Broadway and absolutely loved it!! I have admired most of cast since I first saw them in Movin' Out and seeing them again in CFA was such a treat. I think this show was very under-appreciated on Broadway and a little misunderstood. A lot of people went into the theater thinking they were going to see a musical about the life of Frank Sinatra, and they got a show that not only had nothing to do with Sinatra's life, but it was entirely dancing and had no dialogue. I think that was a big issue with the show's lack of success on Broadway, and that it was not advertised in the right way. However, I think Vegas is the perfect place for it, and Sinatra: Dance With Me has received fabulous reviews. The show is scheduled to run until Jan 29, but I wouldn't be surprised if they extended the run. A while ago there was talk of a national tour of the show, and as of now Come Fly Away is scheduled to run at the Four Seasons Center in Toronto, Canada in August of 2011.

Thank you for the report, kikki, and welcome to BalletTalk!

I hope the show finds the enthusiastic audiences in Las Vegas that New York didn't seem able to muster.

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I hope the show finds the enthusiastic audiences in Las Vegas that New York didn't seem able to muster.

Well, since the first comment in this thread on Ballet Talk/Alert described the work as "Vegas-y," perhaps it has found its true home!

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