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Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Shubert Theatre

Dancing its way to the Shubert Theatre, New Haven, May 19-21, 2022.

Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Shubert Theatre

The national tour of An American in Paris is making its final stop at Shubert Theatre, New Haven, now through May 21, 2022. Based on the Academy Award winning 1951 film starring Hollywood legends Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, An American in Paris features the iconic music of George and Ira Gershwin, including "I Got Rhythm," "S'Wonderful," "But Not For Me," and more.

Set in post-war Paris, we meet Jerry Mulligan (Branson Bice), an American veteran who has chosen to stay in the broken, yet beautiful, city to pursue a painting career. He quickly makes two new friends, Adam Hochberg (TJ Lamando) and Henri Baurel (Peter Romberg) and their stories intertwine in pursuit of the mysterious Parisian ballet dancer, Lise Dassin (Camila Rodrigues).

Fans of the movie will be delighted to see that the show opens in the same fashion, featuring the 1940's style news reel declaring that World War Two has ended, with fantastic video design by Jonathan Infante. The beautiful sets and scenery, by scenic designer Randel Wright, transport the audience to Paris: Everywhere from the streets to the top of the sparkling Eiffel Tower. Though the stage musical's plot differs from its namesake, I could never volunteer to describe how. If I dare show my age, I must admit that I have only watched the original film once, back when my parents owned it on Laser Disc. (At intermission, I had to turn the disc to the B side to watch the second half of the film!) I vaguely remembered the music and the ballet, but when the curtain opened, a wave of nostalgia washed over me. An American in Paris is a musical like no other in that it emphasizes dance (ballet, primarily) in every element of the production and includes a 15-minute long ballet in Act Two. The unforgettable score by George and Ira Gershwin accompanies elegant dance numbers.

The dazzling Kate Gulotta plays Milo Davenport, the rich, American heiress with a heart of gold, and simply shines in the role. Gulotta's was a top three finalist in Chicago the Musical's "The Earth for Roxie!" And we can see why: Her gorgeous voice and acting are not to be missed.

Camila Rogrigues (Lise Dassin), a professional ballerina of extraordinary talent, was elegant, expressive, and adorable. Peter Romberg (Henri Baurel), who left a career in chemistry research to pursue acting, is a welcome addition, playing his role with a sweet sincerity. TJ Lamado plays Adam Hochberg, a veteran and our narrator, with charisma and vocal bravado. The orchestra, lead by Eddie Carney, was wonderful and on-point from downbeat to finish. It can't be easy to take the original lush symphonic-style orchestrations and do it justice with only eleven musicians, but the small pit rose to the occasion.

Though there were select strong moments and talent in the show, there were some questionable casting choices, the production sometimes lacked momentum, and the sound technicians had issues that, unfortunately, overshadowed parts of Act Two. Knowing the high quality of productions at the Shubert Theatre, I have faith that any technical issues will be quickly resolved for the final two shows.

There are only two more dates where you can see this production, as this is the final stop of the tour. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, is dancing its way to the Shubert Theatre, New Haven May 19-21, 2022. The four performances run Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 2:00 & 8:00pm. Tickets are now available online at shubert.com, by phone at 203-562-5666 and at the Box Office (247 College Street, New Haven).



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