|Sasha Olinick, Tiziano D'Affuso, Ryan Manning, Caroline Wolfson, Aaron Bliden, Farrell Parker, and Jamie Smithson in "Fly By Night" at 1st Stage. [Teresa Castracane/1st Stage]|
With plenty of upbeat energy and buoyant voices, a clever musical, “Fly By Night,” is making its area premiere at 1st Stage in Tysons. It is the rock music tale of a small band of people who journey far and wide, from a small town in South Dakota to New York City, and then into a myriad of personal intersections.
It takes place in the period just before and during the electric blackout in November 1965.
Directed with a warmhearted, nimble touch by Kathryn Chase Bryer, her skilled cast of seven hit their marks with great precision and care for the characters they portray. Bryer has a fine feel for what begins as a romantic comedy, then veers to become more somber in its second act.
The cast represents people trying to find their way to fulfill a myriad of dreams. One character is trying to becoming a Broadway star, while another is trying to rekindle an unexciting life spent too long behind a Brooklyn deli counter.
With 18 musical numbers, mostly rock-infused, powered by the driving wheel of music director Walter “Bobby” McCoy, “Fly By Night” can be a very toe-tapping evening. There is one song that some will find themselves humming a few bars with its simple rock chords. It is one of those tunes that can be played slowly with an acoustic guitar and a plaintive voice or amped up into a full-throated anthem. Appropriately enough it is called “Fly By Night.”
Kudos to a jaunty Jamie Smithson, who as the narrator (and several quirky female characters), is exceptionally winning with his daunting responsibilities. 1st Stage veteran Aaron Bliden is very likeable portraying an introverted, confused young deli man seemingly in love with two different women, who happen to be sisters.
One sister is portrayed by Farrell Parker. She is out to find the more in life she seeks as a Broadway actor. Caroline Wolfson is the other sister, a shy waitress. Sasha Olinick portrays a father and widower. He has the show’s brightest moment with a song and dance routine choreographed by Robert Bowen Smith. It’s a show stopper.
“Fly By Night” is an inviting musical evening to experience.
Where and When: “Fly By Night” is performed at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Road, McLean, through May 6. Shows are on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $33 (general admission) $30 for seniors, and $15 for students and military. Purchase tickets online or call 703-854-1856.
Free parking is available. 1st Stage is about two blocks from the Spring Hill Metro stop on the Silver line.
This piece is based on a review that originally appeared in The Connection.