BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Eccles is a Work of Art
The national tour of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Eccles Theater is a beautifully crafted work of art that celebrates art in many forms. Dance, music, and visual art play important roles in both the plot and the production of the show itself, which is a unique combination of a ballet, a dramatic play, and a musical.
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (book by Craig Lucas, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin) is based on the 1951 film that won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The musical was nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2015, winning four. Jerry Mulligan is an American artist who decides to stay in Paris at the completion of World War II. It isn't long before he befriends composer Adam Hochberg, aspiring singer Henri Baurel, and wealthy benefactress Milo Davenport. However, all else falls away when he has an instant connection with ballerina Lise Dassin.
McGee Maddox as Jerry Mulligan and Sara Esty as Lise Dassin are remarkable dancers with beautiful lines, powerful movement, and precise placement. Esty is especially extraordinary on pointe. Their relationship is well drawn and infused with chemistry.
The acting of all the leading and supporting performers is impressive, and the audience is invested in the layered characters and their unexpectedly affecting stories. These include Nick Spangler as Henri Baurel, Stephen Brower as Adam Hochberg, Emily Ferranti as Milo Davenport, and Gayton Scott as Henri's mother, Madame Baurel.
The singing often takes a back seat to director Christopher Wheeldon's impeccably realized choreography, which is flawlessly executed by the ensemble.
The ravishing production design, which appears as chalk and pastel art in constant flux, is equally indebted to all members of the creative team. The set and costume design by Bob Crowley, lighting design by Natasha Katz, and projection design by 59 Productions all make invaluable contributions to the living, breathing art that jetés across the stage.
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS plays the Eccles Theater for a limited engagement through Sunday, October 15, 2017. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.artsaltlake.org.