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Twyla Tharp's 'Come Fly with Me' at Alliance Theater: What did the critics think?

September 29, 2009 | 11:30 am


"Come Fly with Me," a new theatrical production that combines Frank Sinatra's voice with dance moves by choreographer Twyla Tharp, has had a smooth take-off at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.

Since the show had its world premiere last week, critics have chimed in with glowing reviews. Much of the praise has gone toward Tharp, who has used Sinatra's music previously, notably in the 1984 "Sinatra Suite."

The new show features four couples as they dance in a grand ballroom set to songs made famous by Sinatra. Using recordings of Sinatra performing such songs as "The September of My Years" and "Let's Fall in Love," the production also features a 17-member on-stage band.

As Culture Monster previously reported, producers plan on taking the show on a tour in 2010, with cities to be announced in the future. There is also talk of a possible Broadway run, but nothing has been confirmed.

So what did the critics have to say about "Come Fly With Me?" Keep reading to find out...

Wendell Brock of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution praised the show, calling it "dazzling." The critic added: "You can’t question the inventiveness and vitality of Tharp’s choreography — a quirky-sophisticated amalgamation of soaring ballet and earthy modern form — or the powerhouse technique of her superb performers. I have never seen a more charismatic, more expressive group of dancers in my life."

Variety's Frank Rizzo wrote that "even at this early stage, Tharp's new show is vibrant, engaging and, at times, thrilling." The critic said that "the dances and dancers take your breath away as characters and relationships emerge, shift and switch as quickly." But he added that the show "needs more second-act sharpening and shaping to make critical contact. "

Echoing the praise was Charles Isherwood of the New York Times, who called the show "exhilarating" and wrote that the inspiration Tharp finds in Sinatra's songbook "rarely flags in this two-hour medley of dances loosely tied to vignettes about the emotional give and take among four couples at a nightclub."

-- David Ng

Related story:

Twyla Tharp takes flight with Frank Sinatra

Photo: A scene from "Come Fly with Me" at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. Credit: Greg Mooney