Thinking about dance and Frank Sinatra's music brings to mind fresh-faced young couples in the 1940s and '50s executing skillful turns in front of the bandstand, not choreography by modern dance master Twyla Tharp.
Then again, Tharp didn't seem like a logical match for Billy Joel or Bob Dylan either, and she brought Movin' Out and The Times They are A-Changin' to Broadway.
Come Fly Away, which plays Friday through Sunday at the Lexington Opera House, makes it an American pop trilogy for Tharp, with her choreography telling the stories of four couples to the music of Sinatra.
Like Movin' Out, which played at the Opera House in 2008, the show is performed with a live band on stage, capturing the singer's spirit and energizing the dancers.
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"It's pretty similar in approach," says Ron Todorowski, the resident director of the show who also dances several roles, comparing the Joel and Sinatra productions. "It's all dance. No spoken word; no actors are speaking. The actors-dancers are telling the story with their bodies."
Some of stories include young, instant first love set to You Make Me Feel So Young and That's Life, featuring a more dysfunctional relationship.
"They see each other in a nightclub, and you know immediately why this relationship isn't going to work," Todorowski says.
He has worked with Tharp since the Movin' Out days in 2002 and says it was no surprise that Tharp took an interest in Sinatra's tunes.
"She's always very open to working on various projects," Todorowski says. "She doesn't close herself off to anything musically. It wouldn't surprise me if she worked on any kind of music. She goes with what inspires her."
Tharp has not worked directly with the production coming to the Opera House, but she has consulted with the directors and the cast.
"She'll come in and inspire us," Todorowski says. "She's accomplished so much, anything she says is valuable."