They say you never forget your first love, and that appears to be true for Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away and the city of Atlanta. The Frank Sinatra-themed musical, which premiered at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in September 2009, returns this summer to the Fabulous Fox Theatre, presented by Theater of the Stars.
In keeping with its 50-plus-year mission to produce and present the best of Broadway musicals, Theatre of the Stars brings back the hit Aug. 2-7. The show debuted on Broadway in March 2010, and closed in September that same year.
The story is infused with well-known classics by Ol’ Blue Eyes, “That’s Life” and “My Way,” for example, and takes place in a packed 1940s-style nightclub, where eight characters dance in and out of love. The characters play off one another and explore themes such as romance, friendship, platonic negotiation, coy encounter, temptation and one-night-stand. It’s likely that anyone experiencing the show will relate to some, if not many, of the situations and emotions explored. The cast is joined onstage by a 14-piece big band.
Tharp is well-known internationally, nationally and in Atlanta — for performances of her award-winning dance musical Movin’ Out, set to the music and lyrics of Billy Joel and The Times Are A-Changing featuring Bob Dylan’s poetic lyrics, her choreography and the Atlanta Ballet. Atlanta Ballet performed her In the Upper Room in its 2008-09 season, and plans to do the world premiere of her The Princess and the Goblin in its upcoming season.
Tharp and Sinatra are no strangers in the night. In 1976, she created a duet for herself and Mikhail Baryshnikov for American Ballet Theatre titled Once More Frank. She choreographed 1982’s Nine Sinatra Songs and, in 1984, Sinatra Suite. He asked that the latter be performed when he received his Kennedy Center Honors Award. Come Fly Away’s score combines classic and newly discovered vocal performances from the Sinatra archives, along with his signature classics.
The intermingling of singing , dancing, nightlife and live music pay tribute to the man who was a radio, television and film performer, as well as a concert star, producer, director and all-around showman, who captured people’s hearts and imaginations for more than 60 years.
Come Fly Away is produced on tour by Nederlander Presentations, by special arrangement with the Frank Sinatra Family and Frank Sinatra Enterprises. It features scenic design by James Youmans, costume design by Katherine Roth, lighting design by Donald Holder and sound design by Peter McBoyle. Additional arrangements and orchestrations are by Dave Pierce and Don Sebesky. Music supervision is by Dave Pierce.
Tickets range from $30 to $80 and are available at theatreofthestars.com.
Come Fly Away dances circles around the Fox stage Aug. 2-7.
Jeff Al-Mashat is a writer, speaker and fundraiser who has worked in Atlanta’s non-profit community for the past 17 years.