Ring-a-Ding-Ding: “Come Fly Away” at DPAC Features Vocals by Frank Sinatra and Dances by Twyla Tharp

In "Come Fly Away," Twyla Tharp devises dazzling dance routines for Frank Sinatra's hits
In "Come Fly Away," Twyla Tharp devises dazzling dance routines for Frank Sinatra's hits

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Come Fly Away, a frisky PG-13-rated 2010 Broadway musical with vocals by legendary Hoboken, NJ-born singer and actor Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra (1915-98) and dance by 2003 Tony Award®-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp (Movin’ Out), on Sept. 27-Oct. 2 in its 2,700-seat state-of-the-art theater, in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, NC.

Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Twyla Tharp, and originally called Come Fly with Me, the show premiered in September 2009 at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, GA. Renamed Come Fly Away, the musical made its Broadway debut on March 25, 2010 at the Marquis Theatre, where it played for 188 performances before closing Sept. 5, 2010.

The 70-minute musical revue, which is performed without intermission, earned two 2010 Tony Award® nominations — for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Karine Plantadit-Bageot as Kate) and Best Choreography (Twyla Tharp) — and won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography.

New York Times critic Charles Isherwood raved, “Twyla Tharp’s electrifying celebration of the music of Frank Sinatra will sweep you up in a complete spell.” He added, “A sleek, energizing mixture of Sinatra’s inimitable cool and Ms. Tharp’s kinetic heat, Come Fly Away sweeps you up in a spell so complete that only those resistant to the seductions of dance or the swing of Sinatra will be left on the other side of the velvet rope.”

USA Today reviewer Elysa Gardner wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a Broadway show delivering a more dazzling combination of talent …, [T]his homage features the spine-tingling arrangements of Sinatra’s best-loved recordings, zestfully revived by an expert live band. Tharp’s dancers, too — playing couples who grapple with that tender trap called love — mix technical prowess with a visceral punch that can be as playful as it is poignant.”

According to Durham Performing Arts Center:

“… Come Fly Away follows four couples as they fall in and out of love during one song-and-dance-filled evening at a crowded nightclub. Blending the legendary vocals of Frank Sinatra with a live onstage big band and 14 of the world’s finest dancers, Come Fly Away weaves an unparalleled hit parade of classics, including ‘Fly Me to the Moon,’ ‘My Way,’ and ‘That’s Life,’ into a soaring musical fantasy of romance and seduction.

“Charles Isherwood … calls Come Fly Away, “SPECTACULAR and DAZZLING!’ The show’s score combines classic and newly discovered vocal performances from the Sinatra archives, along with Sinatra’s signature arrangements by Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and Quincy Jones, among others, and brand new charts, for this fresh innovative musical.”

On its website, DPAC also writes:

“… This one-of-a-kind experience combines the seductive vocals of ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ with the sizzling sound of a live on-stage big band, the visceral thrill of [Twyla] Tharp’s choreography, and 14 of the world’s best dancers.”

Adam Feldman of Time Out NY calls Come Fly Away “the sexiest show on Broadway,” and Pat Collins of WWOR-TV says “Come Fly Away delivers the purest jolt of pleasure to be found on a Broadway stage.”

WARNING: The Durham Performing Arts Center cautions parents that Come Fly Away is “Not recommended for children under the age of 13 due to depictions of intimate situations and sensuous dance.”

SECOND OPINION: Sept. 24th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/15665636/article-Dancing-to-Sinatra-in-“Come-Fly-Away”-?instance=main_article (Note: You must register first to read this article)

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents COME FLY AWAY at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27-29, 8 p.m. Sept. 30, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 1, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at DPAC, in the American Tobacco District, at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $37.50-$74.25 (including fees).


DPAC Box Office: 919/680-ARTS (2787), tickets@dpacnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.

Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1550863.

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services.

SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/come_fly_away.

SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/suntrust_broadway_series.

VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.comeflyaway.com/.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/getting_here.

PARKING: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/parking_guide.


The Musical: http://www.comeflyaway.com/ (official web page), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_Fly_Away (Wikipedia) and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=485556 (Internet Broadway Database).

Twyla Tharp: http://www.twylatharp.org/ (official website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twyla_Tharp (Wikipedia), and http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=16324 (Internet Broadway Database).

Frank Sinatra: http://www.sinatra.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Sinatra (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).