What Did the Critics Think of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Music Theatre Wichita?
An American in Paris finished a "s'wonderful" week-long run at Music Theatre Wichita.
Set in the French capital in the wake of World War II, An American in Paris tells the romantic story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl, and an indomitable European city - each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of international conflict. Inspired by the Academy-Award winning 1951 film, the new stage musical features a ravishing score by George and Ira Gershwin and a fresh, sophisticated book by Tony nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist Craig Lucas.
The show's timeless musical numbers include "I Got Rhythm," "'S Wonderful," "But Not For Me," "The Man I Love," "Shall We Dance?" and "(I'll Build A) Stairway To Paradise."
The cast featured: Clyde Alves as "Jerry Mulligan," Julie Eicher as "Lise Dassin," Ben Fankhauser as "Adam Hochberg," Rachel Rhodes-Devey as "Milo Davenport," Johnny Stellard as "Henri Baurel," Karen L. Robu as "Madame Baurel," Timothy W. Robu as "Monsieur Baurel," Michael Dikegoros as "Mr. Z" and Abby Kress as "Olga."
The musical's creative team included: Jeffrey Denman (Director), David L. Arsenault (Set Designer), George T. Mitchell (Costume Designer), David Muehl (Sound Designer), Anna Rosell (Props Mistress), Aaron Mooney (Lighting Designer) and Amanda K. Bowman (Stage Manager).
Let's check out what the critics thought about An American in Paris in the reviews below...
Matt Riedl, The Wichita Eagle: Particularly impressive in this cast is Ben Fankhauser, who plays the American pianist Adam Hochberg. He's one of the few characters in this show who makes his mark by singing and not dancing (as does Rachel Rhodes-Devey, who plays arts benefactor Milo Davenport). Fankhauser's character, who frames the story as a sort of quasi-narrator, drew the majority of the audience's laughter throughout the night. His singing voice is a joy to listen to, punctuated by just the right amount of vibrato.
Craig Richardson, BroadwayWorld: Denman's staging was wonderful throughout, having to find action for the performers to do in each song and dance number while paying homage to classical musical theatre amid projections and a rotating stage to contest. Talk about an astute mind to block a production knowing that the stage would be moving and set pieces needed to be placed fittingly to avoid collision with performers and other set pieces coming onstage. Another standout number with lots of activity is "I've Got Beginner's Luck" taking place in the perfumery where Lise works. While there were a few hiccups of playing catch with props, there is a lot of sleight of hand work happening right before your very eyes not to be missed, particularly transitions of getting into and out of the scene itself. At the conclusion of both acts there are ballet sequences and they are just thrilling to watch. Stand out performers in the ensemble are Lena Owens dressed as a classy cat from the era and Paul Amrani as a featured danseur. Amrani, according to his program bio, has extensive ballet training at the Houston Ballet Academy and it clearly shows.