May 20, 2013
Written by Joanne Greco Rochman
Thursday, 31 May 2012 15:21
Known as “The Chairman of the Board” and “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra coined a style that so many singers have tried to emulate and/or imitate.
However, when it comes to phrasing and performing a Sinatra song, there’s only one voice that can deliver the goods and that is Sinatra. While some vocalists come close to capturing the sound and quirks of the legendary vocalist, no one has yet captured the mellow phrasing or confident swagger of Sinatra. Those who try often come across as phony.
Knowing this, Twyla Tharp, world-renowned choreographer, came up with a brilliant idea for a musical. It’s called “Come Fly Away” and the show, which has played Broadway and Vegas, has the authentic Sinatra as the star. It’s running through the weekend at The Bushnell in Hartford.
Just the name of that show brings Frank Sinatra to mind. Charles Pignone, the creative consultant for the show is “the” authority on all things Sinatra. He has produced many Sinatra albums including “Nothing But the Best” and the television special “Sinatra: The Classic Duets.” Mr. Pignone has been with the Sinatra family for the past 25 years and had the luck to travel with Sinatra.
‘I started touring with him in 1984. I was just 18 and it was quite a thrill,” recalled the producer. He gave most of the credit for the Broadway production of “Come Fly Away” to Twyla Tharp, who conceived of the show and its choreography.
The Broadway musical is a unique experience because you hear Sinatra singing his own songs. There’s a live on-stage big band and Tharp’s amazing choreography is instrumental in carrying the musical’s storyline. It’s a story of four couples falling in and out love.
Mr. Pignone said that Ms. Tharp checked with him to make sure that everything was authentic when she put the piece together. “These dancers are like great athletes. You just marvel at what they do in this show,” said Mr. Pignone. After the show left Broadway, some changes were made: for one, the intermission was taken out. Another change happened when the show moved to Vegas. “In Vegas, you had to add the song, ‘Luck Be a Lady,’” said Mr Pignone with a laugh.
Connecticut theater-goers are very lucky. They get to see the Broadway production with the additional material. There’s no dialogue, but when you see this show, it’s almost like Frank is sitting there on stage. It is running from May 29 to June 3. Not surprisingly, tickets are selling fast. Box office: bushnell.org or 860-987-5900.
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