Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 2:04 am | Fair 57º


Lobero LIVE’s ‘Come Fly Away’ a Sold-Out Hit at The Granada

Santa Barbara was one of only a handful of cities to host the hit Broadway production

A visionary and electrifying celebration of Frank Sinatra music and modern dance collided recently at The Granada for the Lobero LIVE presentation of the Broadway musical Come Fly Away.

“It’s a very exciting time for us at the Lobero because this show is only happening in a few cities across the United States and for us to be able to bring it here to Santa Barbara is simply wonderful,” said Doug Wood, board president of the Lobero Theatre.

A special pre-show champagne reception was provided for patrons in the beautiful McCune Founder’s Room at The Granada.

“I’m very excited to see the show because it’s received such great reviews in New York and Los Angeles,” Santa Barbara resident Lisa Wright said before the performance. “And, that the Lobero and Granada have partnered together do this is very special and representative of what the arts community in Santa Barbara is all about.”

Some of the delicious menu items provided by Blush in the pre-show event included Ahi tuna tartar with avocado puree, braised Portobello mushroom crostini with goat cheese and pistachios, and a fine cheese plate with almonds, fruit and crackers.

The enthusiastically received performance was conceived, choreographed and directed by the Tony Award-winning Twyla Tharp, who has worked in ballet, modern dance, on Broadway and in film and television.

“The dancers could feel the love in the house the minute the curtain went up,” said Greg Victor, stage manager for Come Fly Away.

Tharp’s accomplishments include the dance musical Movin’ Out set to music by Billy Joel; The Times They Are A-Changin’, which she choreographed to the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan that played at the Brooks Atkinson; and film work with Milos Forman on Hair and Amadeus.

An exceptional cast of modern dancers included, in order of appearance, Ramona Kelley as Betsy, Christopher Vo as Marty, Cody Green as Sid, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald as Kate, Tanairi Vazquez as Slim, Martin Harvey as Hank, Ron Todorowski as Chanos and Meredith Miles as Babe.

“It’s a wonderful experience for the dancers to know that they are appreciated,” Victor said. “It’s a conversation between the audience and dancers that is very, very special.”

Vocals for the performance by Sinatra are produced on tour by Nederlander Presentations Inc., by special arrangement with the Sinatra family and Frank Sinatra Enterprises.

The recognizable and vast range of Sinatra music was wondrously performed by a big band ensemble lead by conductor and pianist Rob Cookman joined by reeds, trumpets, trombones, bass, guitar and drums. An energized opening number with the full company for “Luck Be a Lady” included lead dancers in red silk dresses and pinstripe suits with fedora hats.

Later, there was a well-received, playful and energetic number by a pair of dancers, Green and Miles, performing to a wonderful rendition of “I’ve Got a Crush On You.” The applause continued as the magnetic Miles danced in red attire to the song “Witchcraft,” joined again by Green and other male members of the ensemble.

Next, a toe-tapping rendition of “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby” was lead by Todorowski and Vazquez with the full ensemble cast.

These magical performances throughout the evening included swing dance, cartwheels, lifts, twirls, breakdancing moves and flirty glances coupled with energized solos on reed, trumpet and trombone from P.J. Perry, Mike Herriott and James Nelson.

“I’ve been to countless Broadway shows, and tonight’s performance was 100 percent New York-style bursting at the seams here in Santa Barbara,” said Phyllis Keimach, a Santa Barbara resident for the past 11 years. “I’m amazed at the contortions, stamina and beauty of the dancers — it was everything that dance could be.”

Sinatra’s well-known body of work over six decades included three Oscars, three Golden Globes, 10 Grammys, an Emmy, a Peabody and the Kennedy Center Honors Award.

Other musical numbers from the Sinatra catalog showcased on this dazzling evening of musical dance included “Stardust,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “My Way” and “New York, New York.”

Come Fly Away originally premiered in September 2009 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, opened on Broadway in March 2010 and follows four couples during one crowded evening at a nightclub as they fall in and out of love.

“When we call the cues for each number, we normally have to push the show along,” Victor said. “But tonight was the longest we’ve ever had to hold between numbers to let the audience finish applauding for any performance that we’ve ever had.”

Another wonderful event upcoming with Lobero LIVE includes an exciting collaboration that began four years ago between the Lobero Theatre Foundation and SUMMERDANCE Santa Barbara featuring the Brian Brooks Moving Company for the fourth annual DANCEworks residency in March 2012.

DANCEworks offers esteemed choreographers residency opportunities to create, rehearse and premiere new work on the intimate Lobero stage.

And, in addition to the world premiere of Big City, the Brooks’ residency will include opportunities for the public to attend open rehearsals, master classes and performances with public art activities that will be announced through social networking platforms.

Special patron tickets for the event included priority seating, pre-performance private reception and recognition in the event program plus a tax-deductible gift to the Lobero Theatre Foundation. For more information on patron tickets, call the Lobero box office at 805.963.0761.

The Lobero Theatre Foundation and Lobero LIVE thanks its generous sponsors for supporting the arts:

» Sponsors: Fidelity Investments, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Noozhawk, KEYT-3, KCSB 91.9, the Santa Barbara Independent, and Sarah and Roger Chrisman.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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