Avoid “Come Fly Away” at Palace

That was a tough night at the Palace Theatre. Consider yourself warned. Don’t go there.

We mistakenly assumed that “Come Fly Away” was a celebration of Frank Sinatra’s singing. Not a chance. It was a dancing show. They turned Frank into sort of a backup singer for a bizarre non-stop dance act choreographed by Twyla Tharp on steroids. I wonder if Twyla and Roger Clemens used the same trainer. Basically, they played Frank’s records, 26 of them, mostly songs from the ’40s and ’50s, as background for all this leaping, whirling mayhem. The gentle, introspective stuff Frank did late in his career was virtually ignored.

It was a clever engineering project. Somehow, they pulled only Frank’s voice off the records and inserted a live band on stage. Almost every song sounded like Billy May’s band and Nelson Riddle’s arrangement. That was big half a century ago. It is not timeless music. That is a cliche. It is dated music. “Swan Lake” is timeless. Supposedly, the dancers interpreted what the songs meant. Did they succeed? That is a matter of interpretation. These 10 dancers from Julliard and other places went non-stop for 75 minutes. I’m serious. They never left the stage. And they’re going to do this until May 20.

There was one interesting departure near the end of the program when the band played a spot-on tribute to Dave Brubeck’s jazz classic, “Take Five.” It almost transported me back to the Ten Pin Bar on Madison Ave. in 1956 except for the distraction. As always, there were the Twyla dancers, right on cue, to spoil the mood.

That’s all. I’ll be at the Union Club tonight. No, the real Union Club. It’s the St. Ed’s annual recognition dinner. We’ve come a long way since we held it in the basement of Herb’s Tavern.

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