An American in Paris, the musical based on the 1951 movie by Vincente Minnelli that starred Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly, opened yesterday at the Théâtre du Châtelet, in Paris. This stage version, which stars New York City Ballet’s Robert Fairchild and the Royal Ballet’s Leanne Cope, is scheduled to begin performances at Broadway’s Palace Theater on March 13, 2015.
Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon with a book by Craig Lucas, the musical, which uses music by George Gershwin, tells the story of an American soldier in postwar Paris who is hopelessly in love with a French girl — and tells the story largely in dance.
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What did the critics think?
Sarah Crompton of the Telegraph called it “bold, satisfying and witty, greatly helped by the colourful fluency of Bob Crowley’s virtuosic projected designs which bowl around Paris, creating everything from boats on the Seine to the interior of the Galeries Lafayette. In routines such as I’ve Got Rhythm (which starts as a funeral dirge and becomes a life-enhancing whirl of movement) and I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise (as grand and splashy as a Busby Berkeley extravaganza), Wheeldon writes a love letter to the great American musical itself.”
Cristophe Martet in Yagg: Far from wanting to copy Minnelli, Christopher Wheeldon has created his own fantasy and glamor and spectacle full of visual ingenuity. (rough translation from the French.)
Rosita Boisseau in Le Monde:The musical An American in Paris, at the Théâtre du Châtelet, spins on a small cloud of constantly changing scenery showing the tourist sites of the capital city…Any fear of dizziness gives way to euphoria thanks to the golden cast and hot Gershwin music…The British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, little known in France, achieves the miracle of (almost) making us forget the 1951 film directed by Vincente Minnelli starring Gene Kelly, while making us curious to see it again…. (rough translation from the French)
Interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor: Breaking into song: How France is tapping its toes to American musicals