"Once I get you up there where the air is rarified
We'll just glide, starry-eyed
Once I get you up there I'll be holding you so near
You may hear all the angels cheer 'cause we're together."
—Frank Sinatra, "Come Fly Away"
The creative pairing behind the hit Broadway dance sensation "Come Fly Away" may just be made in heaven.
Lead dancer Ashley Blair Fitzgerald says Tharp's choreography helps audience and dancer alike experience Sinatra's music in a whole new way.
"The show has a 14-piece band, and to have all that right there, where they match Frank's voice, you just hear so much more of the music than you ever knew was there," Fitzgerald said. "To dance a story to the music, you hear it a different way. You see that under these classic lyrics, there is so much to be said. It just kind of opened my eyes up to the beauty of the music."
Fitzgerald is one of eight elite dancers headlining the show; they are supported by a bevy of ensemble dancers.
"It is a story that takes place in one night in a nightclub, and it follows the relationships between four couples," Fitzgerald said.
The pairings range from an innocent, unscathed young couple to those seeking a purely physical bonding. Fitzgerald's character, Kate, is in a tempestuous, somewhat ambiguous long-term relationship.
"It kind of shows the trials and tribulations that go on with throwing all these people into the same nightclub," Fitzgerald said. "At the end of the night, you walk away feeling extremely happy; the music and the choreography do that to you."
Born to dance
For Fitzgerald, the road to "Come Fly Away" was paved with countless pairs of ballet slippers.
"I started dancing when I was 5," Fitzgerald said. "My older sister was a dancer, so I just kind of followed in her footsteps."
Eventually, Fitzgerald said, dance became more than an after-school activity. It became a prominent part of her life; one that she hoped to carry on into her adulthood.
Fitzgerald, a top ballerina by high school, began participating in prestigious dance camps with companies like ABT and the Joffrey, as well as musical theater camps. She has studied with a wide range of luminaries, like Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon, Ben Vereen and Gregory Hines.
Fitzgerald went to the Boston Conservatory as a dance major, and then began touring with "Fosse," which proved to be a critical decision in her life: Her connections from "Fosse" determined her career trajectory, she said.