The real star of "Come Fly Away," now enjoying an abbreviated engagement at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an entertainer who's been singing with the angels for the past 14 years.
The voice of Frank Sinatra — along with the dynamic, R-rated choreography of Twyla Tharp, who conceived and directs the 80-minute production — serve as gold-plated background for this exercise in movement as smooth as Ol' Blue Eyes' vocal chords.
And what an exercise!
"Come Fly Away" is an exhausting exhibition of young bodies in perpetual motion. Female dancers are tossed, spun and flipped about with seemingly reckless abandon as the Chairman of the Board warbles a laundry list of familiar standards.
As for a story line, the show basically presents guys hitting on girls (and vice versa) at an upscale nightclub backed by a brass-heavy band conducted by Rob Cookman and featuring terrific solos by P.J. Perry on saxophone, James Nelson on trombone and Mike Herriott on trumpet.
While each of the nine company members is given a character name, none of them are actually used and only serve as a form of identification in their specialty numbers. All are superb dancers and each is given ample opportunity to display his or her talent.
Using this method of detection, two of the most memorable performers in a field of equals are Stephen Hanna and Meredith Miles, who first hook up dancing to "I've Got a Crush on You" and who continue to shine throughout the evening.
Representing the younger set are a brash but awkward bartender (Christopher Vo) and the lady he pursues (Ramona Kelley), who rock out to "You Make Me Feel So Young." Anthony Burrell and Ashley Blair Fitzgerald team for a steamy version of "One for My Baby" and create smoothly accomplished harmony on "That's Life."
Most significantly, "Come Fly Away" is a superlative showcase for Tharp, the legendary Broadway and Hollywood choreographer and a 2008 Kennedy Center honoree. Her envelope-pushing dance numbers and Sinatra's golden voice inspire the energetic young hoofers who display their nearly anonymous talents.
If there's a downside at all, it's that the show is ticketed only for a single week's run, closing Sunday. For Sinatra fans and devotees of modern dance, this one shouldn't be missed.
'Vagina Monologues' coming to OCC
Orange Coast College's Repertory Theater will present Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues" during the weekend of Feb. 10-12 as part of V-Day, a global movement to halt violence against women and girls.
Directed by OCC alumnae Courtney Chudleigh and Linda Viramontes, the production will unfold in the Drama Lab Studio at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 and 11 and at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 12. Another series of monologues will be offered the following weekend at the same curtain times.
Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. They may be ordered by calling (714) 432-5880 or by going online to http://www.occtickets.com.
TOM TITUS covers local theater for the Daily Pilot.
If You Go
What: "Come Fly Away"
Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
When: Closing performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Tickets starts at $20
To buy tickets: (714) 556-2787 or go to http://www.scfta.org