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Dance or Theatre? Union Battle Arises Over COME FLY AWAY

The Wall Street Journal reports on a conflict has arisen between two unions over who holds jurisdiction for the performers of Twyla Tharp's COME FLY AWAY, which blurs the lines between dance and musical theatre.

When the show transferred from Atlanta to New York, opening on Broadway on March 25, the performers went from the representation of the American Guild of Musical Artists (which represents dancers) to the representation of the Actors' Equity Association.

Debate has now arisen as to whether COME FLY AWAY is a musical with a story line, or simply an enjoyable evening of dance.

The AGMA has placed a complaint with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, which handles disputes between entertainment unions.

The two unions have been told to sit down work out their dispute, but so far this hasn't happened.
For the full Wall Street Journal story, click here.

COME FLY AWAY follows four couples as they fall in and out of love during one song and dance filled evening at a crowded nightclub. Blending the legendary vocals of Frank Sinatra with a live on stage 19-piece big band and 15 of the world's finest dancers, COME FLY AWAY weaves an unparalleled hit parade of classics, including "Fly Me To The Moon," "My Way," and "That's Life" into a soaring musical fantasy of romance and seduction.

The show's score combines classic and newly discovered vocal performances from the Sinatra archives along with signature arrangements (Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Quincy Jones) as well as brand new charts for this fresh innovative musical.

COME FLY AWAY is the next and most elaborate chapter in one of the most fruitful collaborations in contemporary dance. Twyla Tharp's creative relationship with the music of Frank Sinatra began in 1976 with the premiere of Once More Frank, a duet created for the American Ballet Theatre, performed by Ms. Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The collaboration continued with Nine Sinatra Songs, Ms. Tharp's acclaimed piece for fourteen dancers which had its world premiere with Twyla Tharp Dance in 1982, and was followed by Sinatra Suite, a duet featuring Mr. Baryshnikov and Elaine Kudo, which had its world premiere in 1984 with American Ballet Theatre at the Kennedy Center. Citing it as one of the purest expressions of his body of work, Mr. Sinatra requested that Sinatra Suite be performed when he received his Kennedy Center Honors Award.

Tickets, ranging in price from $66.50 - $126.50, can be purchased via www.TicketMaster.com or by calling 212-307-4100.

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