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Gerald Carpenter: ‘Come Fly Away’ with Lobero LIVE at the Granada

Broadway musical comes to Santa Barbara for one night only, at 8 p.m. Monday

Lobero LIVE will offer the new Broadway musical Come Fly Away for one night only, at 8 p.m. Monday in The Granada Theatre.

Come Fly Away was conceived, choreographed and directed by Tony Award-winner Twyla Tharp, featuring immortal vocal performances by Frank Sinatra, with sets by James Youmans, costumes by Katherine Roth, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Peter McBoyle.

Tharp has been choreographing Sinatra songs since the 1970s. In 1976, she produced Once More Frank, a duet created for the American Ballet Theatre, performed by Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 1982, she staged Nine Sinatra Songs, and in 1984 came Sinatra Suite, a duet featuring Baryshnikov and Elaine Kudo.

Come Fly Away, her most ambitious setting of Sinatra yet, opened on Broadway in 2009 to enthusiastic reviews. The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood, for instance, called it “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.”

In a smoky nightclub, circa 1940s, four couples connect and disconnect, fall in and out of love, fight and make up, discover the meaning of life and lose track of it again, while they dance their way through 35 of the greatest vocalizings ever committed to magnetic tape. That’s all there is to the plot, really — no more than you might get in a really interesting music video — but the songs and the dances comment upon each other, and our times, in a way that is uniquely satisfying and memorable.

From “Come Fly With Me,” “Let’s Fall in Love” and “Fly Me to the Moon” through “One for My Baby,” “My Way” and “All the Way,” the 35 songs comprise what amounts to an encyclopedia of Sinatra classics (except “Moonlight Becomes You,” which belongs completely to Bing Crosby, whatever Old Blue-Eyes’s fans might claim). More than any other voice, Sinatra’s defined the accents and the memories of post-World War II America. Tharp has internalized this voice so thoroughly that she now seems to think in Sinatra lyrics. It is a wonder to behold.

Tickets for Come Fly Away start at $53 and are available at the Granada box office, 1214 State St. or 805.899.2222, or click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer.

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