Twyla Tharp: ‘Come Fly Away’

By Mad Dog
Published: Mar 04, 2010

Nostalgic for the Olympics? No need. World-class athleticism has moved to Broadway, where the women in Twyla Tharp’s troupe are tossing off the dance equivalent of triple-axels and the men could teach Shaun White a thing or two about innovative leaps. Okay, I’m not a neutral observer — I was Ms. Tharp’s collaborator on her book, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together — nor am I a dance critic. But even a casual theatergoer can’t miss the level of artistry in Come Fly Away, a dance musical built around the music of Frank Sinatra. Set in a night club, dancers pair up, break up, form new relationships, reunite. The words of love, regret and romantic hope are all Frank’s, who has never sung better; his pristine vocal tracks are supported by a massive — 19-piece — live band. But it’s the dancers, who reprise every great move that Twyla Tharp has devised over half a century and add some new ones, who flew me to the moon and back.