Twyla Tharp and the evergreen vocals of Frank Sinatra come together in "Come Fly Away," a dance spectacular that arrives at the Kennedy Center direct from Broadway and the Las Vegas production of "Sinatra Dance With Me."
Ron Todorowski, the resident director of the company and a Helen Hayes Award winner for his performance in "Movin' Out," based on the songs of Billy Joel, paused during rehearsals on the road to talk about the show and his love of dancing.
"We have an incredible cast of dancers who do incredible things with their bodies," he said. "The dance element mixed with timeless, classic songs and a live band on stage appeals to all ages. Everyone in the cast covers several roles so there's constant change on stage and so many things going on every moment for the audience to enjoy. The story line focuses on four couples in a crowded nightclub and how they interact with one another.
|Twyla Tharp's 'Come Fly Away'|
|Where: Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street NW|
|When: Wednesday through April 29|
|Info: $59 to $125; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324; kennedy-center.org|
"As a dancer and an actor, I love how Twyla gives dancers the opportunity to create characters. We speak with our bodies just as actors talk with one another. This makes for a powerful experience that leaves both performers and audience wanting more. Because this show is 90 percent partnered, we're called on for many skills and our complete attention at all times. We constantly lift girls and toss them from guy to guy, so tremendous mental focus is required. When we're not on stage, we're preparing or rehearsing. The company class is held three time a week from noon to five or one to six. As resident director, I'm non-stop busy, so I use my rest time wisely by keeping my feet up, sitting in a hot tub or doing yoga."
At age 34, he remains in outstanding shape and continues to receive more offers than he can accept. After a month's pause in Pittsburgh during the summer, this show heads to Japan, a trip he does not wish to miss. Looking toward the next decade, he plans to explore becoming a choreographer or moving into creative theater and concert work, perhaps on the managerial side. For his own pleasure, he may become certified in yoga or take cooking lessons. But for now, he continues to fly high on stage.
"When I look out into the audience, I love watching the people," he said. "Last week, I saw one woman in the first row sitting on the edge of her seat, wide-eyed and excited about everything happening on stage. The audience all around her was just as thrilled. All the time we see folks singing along with the songs and moving in their seats as if they want to get up and dance. My greatest pleasure is seeing how much they are enjoying themselves."