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Sinatra’s sultry voice washed over Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center as the curtain rose for one last time. Despite the dim lighting, the faces of the performers visibly exuded a special radiance. Sunday night marked the final show of Come Fly Away’s National Tour and I was lucky enough to be in the audience. Admittedly, I am no stranger to this show (my boyfriend is in it). I have had the pleasure of seeing multiple performances in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami and the energy radiating from the stage during this final show was palpable.
A packed audience eagerly awaits the start of the show.
Come Fly Away, the brainchild of Twyla Tharp (see our cover story on the project here), kicked off its First National Tour last June after passing through Atlanta, New York, and Las Vegas. The tour covered 28 cities in 12 months, carrying the sounds of Frank Sinatra across the country.
Tharp’s choreography, paired with a live 19-piece band, injects life into Sinatra’s legendary vocals, inviting the audience members to experience an action-packed night out on the town. The über-talented cast of four main couples and six ensemble members, embodies the typical characters one would expect to meet during a night in a New York City nightclub. From the bashful love-struck waiter to the drunken lovesick businessman, there is never a dull moment in this thoroughly entertaining 80-minute show.
Both onstage and off each of the 22 standout dancers is humble, passionate about their trade, and ridiculously talented. On Sunday night two couples really stood out, prompting a standing ovation from the audience. Chehon Wespi-Tschopp and his partner Marcia Moreno, dancing for their final time together, held no prisoners as they took the audience on the smoldering rollercoaster ride that is their love-hate relationship. Christopher Vo and Ramona Kelley, who will both continue to perform the roles of the bartender and his shy love interest in Japan this summer, won the hearts of each person in the theater with their quirky chemistry.
Wespi-Tschopp and Moreno
After the house lights went out, the celebrations began for the cast and crew. Gathered in a small lounge backstage, the group said their goodbyes, toasting to memories of the past and those still to come. It was such a touching spectacle to witness and be a part of, if any of the cast members happen to read this, thank you for welcoming me into the family for the evening.
The dancers and musicians applaud each other at closing.
The show will travel to Japan in July, with some new members and bidding farewell to others with Sunday’s closing curtain. In the words of rehearsal director and principal dancer Ron Todorowski, “Japan is the perfect period to end the sentence.” I could not imagine saying it any better.
The wonderful cast of CFA gathered for one final group photo.
Grace McLoughlin is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University after three seasons with the Los Angeles Ballet. Returning to Copenhagen for a fourth summer, she is performing with the Pantomime Theater Company. Stay tuned to read about her hyggeligt Danish adventures!