Calling all Sinatra fans: Find your way over to the Marquis Theater. Twyla Tharp’s paean to Ol’ Blue Eyes won me over and I can’t say I’ve ever been a Sinatra fan. His voice has been removed from all previously recorded soundtracks, its smooth richness now accompanied by an orchestra that is on equal footing with the dancers. I love modern musicals that unearth the orchestra from the pit and set the musicians prominently on stage where those trumpets and trombones (esp. in this show) can be seen as well as heard.
The only other mesmerizing dance musical I’ve seen was Susan Stroman’s “Contact” which was composed of three vignettes. This show’s numbers alternated between pure ecstatic joy and noirish mood pieces with no story line but none needed. Twyla Tharp worked each and every one of her dancers to the max, but Charlie Neshyba-Hodges (Marty the nightclub waiter) is the man to watch – a scene-stealer at every turn. Although I was familiar with every song in the first act, the pace picked up for me in the second half.
If theater critics are impressed by enthusiastic, involved audiences, last night’s preview performance should have nailed it. “Come Fly Away” was a terrific evening of nostalgic feel-good entertainment. If Sinatra is your guy and Twyla Tharp is your gal, do not miss “Come Fly Away.”