Rave Reviews for Fly
Fly hits its target! Action-packed 90-minute history. The airmen are a personable lot.… Eric Berryman plays a Chicago lady-killer, entering in a zoot suit and keeping up an appealingly self-satisfied charm offensive. Mark Hairston is cool and dignified as a “race man”…. Damian Thompson plays a high-spirited recruit from the West Indies, and Christopher Wilson brings youth and rectitude to his portrayal of a precocious 17-year-old who already has his single-engine pilot’s license.
-The Washington Post
Compelling! To show the pilots in flight, Director Ricardo Khan has fashioned large, mirrorlike video screens above the players that blast images of clouds, faraway homes, or even general chaos as the players twist and turn through the skies. Khan has another storytelling trick up his sleeve: interpretive tap dancer Omar Edwards. Whether Edwards is jogging laps, dodging hateful imagery or charging out of training sessions, his dancing is often charged with doing the emotion for the airmen who are struggling to keep themselves together. Fly drives home a message of the importance of the characters’ sacrifice.
Powerful! Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan’s innovative play Fly is receiving its Washington, D.C., premiere at the historic Ford’s Theatre, a fitting venue to explore how racial issues influenced the Tuskegee Airmen’s experience in training and flying combat aircraft in Word War II. Under the direction of Ricardo Khan, a cohesive and talented ensemble cast of eight brings this well-known story to live. When this excellent acting is coupled with strong video elements and the unexpected use of tap dancing, the production becomes a must-see. Broadway’s Omar Edwards demonstrates flawless tap skills. With just the movement of his body, he can communicate more anger and sadness than most people can with words. Hope Clarke’s choreography is exhilarating, demanding, purposeful and rhythmic.
Five stars! Passionately directed! The Airmen perform a step routine that had last night’s audience cheering loudly and clapping along. The chemistry and “heart” among these fine actors is infectious. Rui Rita’s lighting design, and John Gromada’s sound design —along with Clint Allen’s stunning projections — make you feel like you’re in the air flying alongside these brave pilots. An important and magnificent play that will stir you and make your heart soar!
-DC Metro Theater Arts
Family-friendly! None have captured the heart and spirit of [the Tuskegee Airmen’s] story better than Ford’s Theatre’s production of Fly. Among the show’s most successful and metaphorical elements is the Tap Griot played by Omar Edwards. He is a constant mystical presence who uses tap dance to convey the joy, angst and fury of the soldiers.
-Maryland Theatre Guide
A soaring piece! All of the actors come through with flying colors. What also brings the show alive is incorporating the incredible dancing of the Tap Griot, Omar Edwards. In unforgettable dance sequences, the Griot serves as the soul of the characters, tapping out their inner turmoil and deepest frustrations with the heart beat of a drum. Insightful messages, focused direction and exciting production design make this a remarkable show. Seeing the show in the historic Ford’s Theatre under the watchful gaze of Lincoln’s legacy is priceless.
-DC Theatre Scene
An immersive experience that brings the audience right into the cockpit with some of the first African-American pilots in the Army Air Corps. While all four leads give exemplary performances, its [Omar Edwards] who provides the (symbolic and literal) heartbeat for the production…. Edwards’ feet do the talking here, their percussive tap beats powering the action.
A superb message! Directed at a swift pace by Khan. The excellent ensemble of actors is joined by the Tap Griot (Omar Edwards), an extraordinarily gifted tap dancer who acts out with his feet, body and tap shoes the moods and emotions of various scenes. The addition of the Tap Griot, smoothly choreographed by Hope Clarke, was a masterstroke, as his presence lights up the central story of camaraderie, giving it a second, almost poetic presence.
The ferocious, athletic dancing of Omar Edwards … punctuates the evening’s narrative with rhythms ranging from haltingly contemplative to wrathfully rapid fire.
-The City Paper
Fly was great! @fordstheatre did an awesome job making you feel like you're in the cockpit. Laughed, cried. Awesome.
@erinblasco on Twitter
"Fly" @ Ford's Theatre Wash DC, great tribute to Tuskegee Airman, live your dream.
@NelsonSneed on Twitter
“a farce or a comedy is best played...” Lincoln would have enjoyed #Fly as much as I did! @fordstheatre
@kkang1980 on Twitter
Go see "Fly" @fordstheatre. Story of Tuskegee Airmen inspirational & patriotic. The real Tuskegee Airmen in front row got thunderous ovation
@KentKnutson on Twitter
Saw @fordstheatre "Fly" this evening. My review: It was incredibly moving. Standing ovation all around. Mr. "Tap It" brings depth & emotion.
@kegleblanc on Twitter
FLY + @fordstheatre + Tuskegee Airmen in the audience = AMAZING! #dcarts #dctheater #theatre
@VictoriaInVerse on Twitter
@fordstheatre - #Fly - @fordstheatre - Fly is real jewel, combining a witty script, talented cast, and dynamic multimedia for a real treat.
@greshamj01 on Twitter
Eric Berryman, Damian Thompson and Mark Hairston with (background) Omar Edwards in the Ford’s Theatre production of “Fly,” directed by Ricardo Khan. Photo by Scott Suchman.