BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at The Overture Center
An American in Paris is a 2015 Broadway musical based on a 1951 film. The basic premise, boy loves girl, other boy loves girl...yet another boy loves girl. Oddly enough the show is NOT about the girl.
Adam Hochberg (Matthew Scott) befriends fellow U.S.GI, Jerry Mulligan (McGee Maddox) after both decide to stay in Paris after World War 2. (Shouldn't the show have been called...." A couple of Americans in Paris"?) Both fall for a girl, Lise Dassin (Allison Walsh), promised to mutual friend, Henri Baurel (Ben Michael).
This combination ballet/musical has cleaned up most of the sexism and misogyny of the original film, as it should, we are, after all, living in a different age. The dancing was fabulous, if not excessive. The set and multi-media were breathtaking. The actors, for the most part, believable.
As "THE" American in Paris, Jerry is hardly convincing as an inspired painter. His relationship with the ingénue, Lise, is less than steamy and more...muted. There is just no chemistry. What there is, is dancing! Lot's of dancing, and Allison Walsh is a pleasure to watch while doing so. She is fluid and graceful and maintains her character's shy demeanor as she dances.
This show has won several Tony Awards; Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic design of a musical! Fantastic accolades indeed. That being said, I noticed what it did NOT win was Best Musical nor Best Book for a Musical. (Those both went to Fun House in 2015.) The reason I note this is because it was NOT the best musical and the book was very thin.
The lack of dialog in the first act, in comparison with the two ballets performed, did very little to advance the story or develop the characters. I found myself not caring about the characters. I also wondered why, if Lise were the central character in this isoscelean love triangle, it was not her story. Frankly, it would have been far more interesting had it been her story.
During the second act, I witnessed no less than 4 people leave and not return. It felt like a very long musical. The show does a great job using multi-media to bring Paris to life, helping to create the ability to momentarily suspend one's disbelief long enough to get through this, slightly less than room temperature, adaptation of an okay 1951 film.
Most Awarded Musical of 2015 to play Madison in Overture Hall Tues., Feb. 27 - Sun., Mar. 4
Madison, Wis. - AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, the most awarded new musical of 2015 and winner of four Tony Awards®, will play at Overture Center for one-week engagement Tues., Feb. 27-Sun., Mar. 4, 2018.
Inspired by the Academy-Award winning film, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is the romantic story about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Directed and choreographed by 2015 Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon, the show features the music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and a book by Craig Lucas.
The creative team is also comprised of Tony Award-winners Bob Crowley (set and costume designer) and Natasha Katz (lighting designer); Jon Weston (sound designer); 59 Productions (projection designer); Rob Fisher (musical score adaption, arrangement and supervision); Todd Ellison (musical supervisor); David Andrews Rogers (musical director/conductor); Christopher Austin and Bill Elliott (orchestrations); Sam Davis (dance arrangements); Telsey + Company/Rachel Hoffman, C.S.A. (casting); Rick Steiger (production supervisor); Dontee Kiehn (associate director and associate choreographer); and Sean Kelly (associate choreographer and resident director).
The score of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS includes the songs "I Got Rhythm," "Liza," "'S Wonderful," "But Not For Me," "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," and orchestral music including "Concerto in F," "Second Prelude," "Second Rhapsody/Cuban Overture" and "An American In Paris."
The production opened to widespread critical acclaim at the Palace Theatre on Broadway in April 2015 after its world premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The New York production closed in October 2016 after playing more than 600 performances. A West End production of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS played the Dominion Theatre from March 2017-January 2018.
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS won four 2015 Tony Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Award for Best Musical, three Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, and two Theatre World Awards. The musical was included on the Year's Best lists of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, the Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Masterworks Broadway Original Broadway Cast recording of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS was nominated for the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy Award.
Tickets are available at the Overture Center box office (201 State Street), by visiting overture.org, or by calling 608.258.4141. Group orders of ten or more may be placed by calling 608.258.4159.
Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wis., features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year. Overture.org
Broadway Across America is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, under the supervision of 11-time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO). Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, Hairspray, Hello, Dolly!, Million Dollar Quartet, On Your Feet!, The Producers, School of Rock and Waitress BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com; Broadway.com