An American in Paris Review - A Classic Then, A Classic Now

It's post World War 2 Paris, in the City of Lights and Love.  It's the Gene Kelly/Leslie Caron movie of 1951 transformed  on the Broadway stage by the Tony Award - Winning Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

 

With music and lyrics by the incomparable Gershwin brothers, and a timeless love story about friendship and following your heart, if my mother were alive today, she would 'remember it well' and hum the tunes and mouth the words to the wonderful songs where you could understand every word.  She would relish in the movements of the loving and seamless ballet scenes.  She would comment on how handsome and savvy the male leads were and how beautiful and graceful the female leads.  It is a classic movie brought to life in every sense of the word, where you forget that special effects are more than painted scenery and young men in love could sit around on the piano in the pub and sing and dance about 'the girl' they love.

 

In this case, she's a lucky girl.  She's loved by all three men as they begin to follow their passions after serving in the war.  Adam Hochberg (Brandon Uranowitz) narrates the story of his pal, GI artist Jerry Mulligan (Garen Scribner), and their mutual passion for the talented ballerina, Lise  (Leanne Cope). The leads are charismatic and the musical score will always stand the test of time.

 

Photo Credit: Mathew Murphy

In this day and age of Broadways musicals trying to outdo each other in costume, dance and originality, it was 65 years ago that this timeless classic came to the screen and nothing changed but the actors who portrayed their parts. 

 

I wondered how many audience members truly appreciate this beautifully choreographed revival.   The family sitting next to us was a older man who brought his mother and father who immigrated from Poland and Brussels.  They met in Luxemburg and came to American right after the war.  Their hearts were filled with love and appreciation for this time-honored story of man, music, love, love lost, and love found.

 

The resemblance of Lise to Leslie Caron was  stimulating As she sang, "The Man I Love, " written in 1924 by  Ira and George Gershwin, It was as if I was hearing it for the first time.

 

The 14-minute ballet between Kelly & Caron from the film was brought to life once again by Garen Scribner (Jerry Mulligan) and Leanne Cope (Lise).  (Robert Fairchild, who left the leading-man role in February has been replaced with Scribner - who does not disappoint in any way) The romantic, awe-inspiring, uplifting and dreamy ballet was the perfect closing to a most romantic and unforgettable show.

 

As you relish the beauty of the dance you must also appreciate the level of acting.  To do both, so flawlessly, is what Broadway is about.  It's unfortunate that revivals come and go too quickly as we witness on the Great White Way.  But when you can, take in the beauty that is American in Paris.  If you haven't seen the original, talk to your mother, your grandmother, maybe  your great grandmother.  It's cinema and Broadway history.

 

An American in Paris is currently playing at The Palace Theater, 1564 Broadway (on 47th Street)

For more information:  anamericaninparis website

The show will go on tour in October.  Check this website to see when this show will be in  your area.

 

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A presentation by Stuart Oken, Van Kaplan, Roy Furman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Darren Bagert, Carole L. Haber, James Nederlander, Five Cent Productions, Michael Leavitt, Apples & Oranges Studios / Dominion Pictures, Roger Berlind / Arch Road, Simone Genatt Haft / Marc Routh, Triptyk Studios / Spencer Ross, Ed Walson / Peter May, Adam Zotovich / Celia Atkin, Eugene Beard / Julie Boardman / Kalish-Weinstein, Stuart Ditsky / Jim Herbert / Sandy Robertson, Suzanne Friedman / Independent Presenters Network / Wonderful Productions, the Leonore S. Gershwin 1987 Trust / Jenkins-Taylor / Proctors, Harriet Newman Leve / Jane Dubin / Sarahbeth Grossman / Caiola Productions / Jennifer Isaacson / Raise the Curtain, by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical & Pittsburgh CLO, and Theatre du Chatelet of a musical in two acts with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and book by Craig Lucas, inspired by the 1951 MGM movie.

Creative

Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Sets & costumes, Bob Crowley; lighting, Natasha Katz; sound, Jon Weston; projections, 59 Productions; musical score adapted, arranged, and supervised by Rob Fisher; orchestrations, Christopher Austin; production stage manager, Rick Steiger.

Cast

Garen Scribner, Leanne Cope, Veanne Cox, Jill Paice, Brandon Uranowitz, Max von Essen.

 

 

 

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