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Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons

PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/17/14 at 03:38am
Caught the first preview.

There is a VERY interesting musical here, but it needs some tightening. It has some very catchy songs (i was humming several at the intermission) and the leads are all very enjoyable but they still need to get comfortable in their characters skin.In a sense the show framed against the 1965 northeast blackout (it takes places from November 9th 1964-November 9th 1965) focuses on Manhattan Sandwich maker/musician Harold McClam (played by Adam Chanler-Berat) who gets wrapped up in a love triangle with two sisters from South Dakota wannabe broadway starlet Daphne (played by Patti Murin) and astronomy loving diner waitress, Miriam (played by the extremely charming Allison Case). The first acts narrative structure is unlike anything i've ever seen as it flips backwards and forwards in a 6 month time span while sometimes even looping back to previous moments all presented to us by a narrator (played by the wonderful Henry Stram) who pretty much never leaves the stage for the entire 2 hours and 20 minutes of stage time and in addition to being our guide plays about 9 different characters. The second act is a little more straight forward but theres a stage effect about 20 minutes into the second act that just clicks everything together (I verbally said wow when it happened) and the last 50 minutes of the show is beautiful and heart breaking and magical. Additional credit to Peter Friedman who plays Harold's dad Mr McClam and who easily has the best song of the evening, and Michael McCormick as Harold's boss at the Sandwich shop Crabble who gets a lot of the funny lines and a great duet with Chanler-Berat about mediocrity and the dead end job they are both stuck in. Apart from some occasional sound balance issues the four piece onstage band sounded good and ultimately if they can shave about 10-15 minutes off this they have a hit on their hands.
center
Understudy
joined:2/10/12
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/17/14 at 05:36am
I was also there last night and totally agree! I left thinking this could really turn into something special. Very much enjoyed the score and performances, and there's a delightful mix of humor with attention to some big questions about who we are vs. who we want to be and how much control we have over our lives at the end of the day. There's a line in Hedwig about "the geography of human contact" that seemed at the core of what this show explores, without being too heavy handed or artificial on that theme. Highly recommended.
mamaleh
Broadway Star
joined:5/11/04
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/17/14 at 10:19am
For me, it was OK and nothing more. Some of the songs were memorable, although I didn't see a songlist in the playbill and will probably forget which was which. The performances were solid, with Peter Friedman's building slowly to a heart-tugging crescendo in his one big song. Certain scenes reminded me of some of the best moments of IF/THEN. But I didn't like the change in tone as the show progressed, leading to what seemed to me a cynically manipulative ending.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/18/14 at 12:17am
Dull, drab, and listless, with uninteresting characters, nondescript songs, and a plodding narrative that just kept going on and on and on... Another one of these shows that steadfastly refuses to end. Running time 2:45.

Worst was the windbag of a narrator who kept feeding us pretentious "insights" about life, and who had absolutely nothing of interest to say.
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/18/14 at 02:05am
^ oh jeez no surprise, f/u/c/k off dude.
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/18/14 at 06:06pm
Saw the matinee today and enjoyed it - I do think it is a bit long and could be well-served by some cutting. But it's an original, touching new musical in a season that is overall lacking originality and emotion.

No surprise that After Eight hated it - it does, after all, feature a young man with a guitar, one of his most despised theatrical tropes.
neonlightsxo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/29/08
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/18/14 at 06:35pm
Seeing it this week. What's the runtime?
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/18/14 at 07:50pm
Two and a half hours with intermission.
gstrus2
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/12
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/18/14 at 10:52pm
Show got started at 7:30 tonight and finished at 10:08. I loved it. I was so emersed in the story I didn't notice it was "long". I loved the songs and all the characters, I highly recomend it. I will definately be going back.
ThorouglyModern2
Swing
joined:2/10/14
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/19/14 at 10:58pm
I definitely enjoyed the narrative structure of this show which is quite different with the looping back and forth in time and place. Most of the score was forgettable but there were a couple winners. I'm not sure that the emotion they want you to feel at the end really landed - at least it didn't for me as it felt a bit too contrived. But I still enjoyed it and both the female leads gave great performances.
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/24/14 at 09:28pm
anyone visit recently? curious if any cuts have been made yet? I'm going for a second time next thursday so i'm curious to see if anythings changed.
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mjohnson2
Broadway Star
joined:11/2/13
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/25/14 at 01:30am
Would a transfer be possible or likely for this show? Anybody know how well it is selling?
Anything regarding shows stated by this account is an attempt to convey opinion and not fact.
jbm2
Broadway Star
joined:3/26/11
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/25/14 at 02:21am
Anyone know the current running time? Have any cuts been made?
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/25/14 at 09:07am
I can't see this transferring in its present form.
Luv2goToShows
Broadway Star
joined:9/13/09
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/25/14 at 08:12pm
jbm2, saw it today still run time is still the same, slightly over 2 1/2 hours, 2:30 matinee was out by 5:05.
nmlhats
Swing
joined:5/26/14
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/26/14 at 12:39am
I usher at Dallas Theater Center and worked FbN five or six times last May. We had quite a number of patrons attend the show more than once because they were so taken with it, and it was also a favorite with Front of House. (One of the supervisors did a FB time-hop today to his post on sadly working his last FbN shift a year ago today.)

The show was definitely on the long side in its Dallas incarnation, but I assume it has been trimmed some to even get to its current run time. With some shows, I can see where the cutting needs to be, but it was harder with this one. I did notice in one of the video clips that a song written almost on the spot for a Dallas actor (What You Do To Me) remains in the show.

I will be seeing FbN next month in New York and am anxious to compare some of the moments and details I liked best. I loved the narrator and wonder if his involvement will be the same. Many of the songs are STILL nagging earworms a year later, so I hope they do a cast recording. Every time Harold's father (David Coffee down here) sang his big number I lost it.

We also recently had Adam C-B here for the new show Fortress of Solitude (co-prod of DTC and the Public, and I could easily cut 15-20 mins from that one); after seeing him several times in that show, I think he should make a wonderful Harold.

As for a transfer, FbN always struck me as a very, very intimate show, not well-suited to a big Broadway house. We had about 500 capacity and that was comfortable.

Updated On: 5/26/14 at 12:39 AM
grumpyoptimist
Featured Actor
joined:2/26/11
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/26/14 at 01:02am
I saw it a week ago tonight. I very much enjoyed it, especially the unique quirkiness of the show. Allison Case and Patti Murin are so well cast for the parts. I thought the end could be tightened up...it felt like they were about to deliver the big finish and then not two or three times. The folks next to me were saying this left them a touch frustrated. Frustrated may be a bit strong, but I thought it didn't work quite as well as it might.
HBBrock
Broadway Star
joined:6/11/07
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/26/14 at 12:55pm
Saw this last night. An absolute DO NOT MISS. It's one of the best shows on or off Broadway in the last few years. Absolutely fantastic.
homeimp
Leading Actor
joined:10/2/08
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/30/14 at 01:47am
I thought some of the music was interesting. I greatly enjoyed Allison Case and Michael McCormick. Adam C-B was fine. However the overintrusive presence of the narrator was very annoying. At any rate, have a look and see what you think. I take issue with the description of La Traviata as "an operatic tragedy featuring a love triangle". Really? A very two-sided triangle then, in my opinion.
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haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/30/14 at 08:57am
"Worst was the windbag of a narrator who kept feeding us pretentious "insights" about life, and who had absolutely nothing of interest to say."

Too close to home?!
neonlightsxo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/29/08
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/30/14 at 09:09am
It's definitely enjoyable theater, great performances by the leads (Patti Murin, Adam Chanler-Berat, Allison Case, and Henry Stram as the narrator), but I couldn't help but notice how messy it felt. Surprised to see it needs a rewrite after having being workshopped and produced several times before.
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/30/14 at 02:29pm
^ i think thats the point though, the whole show is a reflection of life, life is not clean and straightforward and clear, its chaos and unclear and unexpected.
neonlightsxo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/29/08
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/30/14 at 02:33pm
I know what the point is but they could keep the "messy" feel without it actually being messy. A good dramaturg could clean it up.
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/30/14 at 03:01pm
I sorta hated this show. Each act seems to go on for twenty minutes too long, and the somewhat silly tone no way prepares you for the denouement. I left asking "What was that???" Only two relatively good songs (The "Cecily Smith" number and the "It's What You Do To Me" song--sung by a character whose presence in the play I couldn't even understand). Liked the cast though. Except the narrator.
nmlhats
Swing
joined:5/26/14
Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons
Posted: 5/31/14 at 12:03am
Too funny about that Traviata line. That inaccurate little plot summary bugged me every time I saw FbN in Dallas!
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Well, sad to say, I did not like Fly By Night. I found the score unmemorable except for a little fragment of a melody that we were encouraged to sing a couple of times in the beginning. The characters were mostly two dimensional, and I didn't find the story interesting at all. The ending came out of left field and was particularly unsatisfying. The whole thing felt kind of pointless. I had been looking forward to this and shelled out serious money (for me) in the absence of TDF tickets, so this was really a ticket purchase to regret. The only aspect of this production that wasn't a miss was that most of the performances were professional.






Updated On: 6/1/14 at 11:47 PM

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