An American in Paris BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Angela Sterling
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • VARIETY

  • HR

  • AMNY

Opening Night:
April 12, 2015
Closing:
October 9, 2016

Theater: Palace Theatre / 1564 Broadway, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Eager to begin his life anew after the brutality of combat, World War II Army veteran Jerry Mulligan chooses newly liberated Paris as the place to make a name for himself as a painter. With the assistance of fellow ex-pat Milo Davenport, a wealthy American with a past she wishes to forget, Jerry’s life becomes complicated when he meets Lise, a young Parisian shop girl with her own secret. Soon it becomes clear that Jerry’s friends—Adam, a Jewish American composer, and Henri, a Parisian aristocrat—also vie for Lise’s love. Inspired by the classic Oscar-winning film of the same name.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF An American in Paris

    ‘An American in Paris,’ a Romance of Song and Step

    Charles Isherwood

    April 12, 2015: The city of light is ablaze with movement in the rhapsodic new stage adaptation of “An American in Paris” that opened at the Palace Theater on Sunday, directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, a gifted luminary of the ballet world. This gorgeously danced — and just plain gorgeous — production pays loving tribute to the 1951 movie, to the marriage of music and movement, and to cherished notions about romance that have been a defining element of the American musical theater practically since its inception. Just about everything in this happily dance-drunk show moves with a spring in its step, as if the newly liberated Paris after World War II were an enchanted place in which the laws of gravity no longer applied. Even the elegant buildings on the grand boulevards appear to take flight. Musicals based on classic movies, or not-so-classic movies, have become a familiar staple on Broadway. Just last week, “Gigi,” another show based on an Oscar-winning MGM movie set in Paris — also featuring a screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner — opened a few blocks away. Dance, on the other hand, has become the wallflower at the Broadway prom in recent decades, which makes Mr. Wheeldon’s triumph all the sweeter. Still, unlike the shows directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp — “Movin’ Out” being the most successful — “An American in Paris” is very much a traditional Broadway musical, with a book by the playwright Craig Lucas that amplifies the movie’s thin story line, mostly to witty and vivifying effect. And while its two radiant leading performers, Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope, are ballet dancers by profession, they also sing (quite well) and deliver dialogue (more than quite well).

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF An American in Paris

    'An American in Paris' Theater review

    David Cote

    April 12, 2015: The arrival of two big musicals derived from classic 1950s movies located in the City of Light (see "Gigi") indicates either a resurgent interest in the early film oeuvre of Leslie Caron or a lack of producer imagination. Or maybe it’s just random, unintentionally reflected in the patchwork—if also lavish and classy—quality of "An American in Paris." There’s much gorgeous ballet to admire in director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s Broadway debut, set against attractive, painterly backdrops by Bob Crowley, but the overall effect is of a dance concert with a semiserious musical squeezed into the cracks. Book writer Craig Lucas takes the bones of Alan Jay Lerner’s 1951 screenplay, which sent the great Gene Kelly leaping through postwar Paris after Caron to the hooting, swooning strains of George Gershwin, and concocts a story tinged by Nazi-occupation guilt and soldiers with PTSD.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF An American in Paris

    Broadway Review: ‘An American in Paris’

    Marilyn Stasio

    April 12, 2015: A dancer is a thing of beauty, and there is beaucoup beauty in director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s ravishing production of “An American in Paris,” smartly but not slavishly adapted by Craig Lucas from the 1951 MGM movie. This stageworthy vehicle casts ballet stars Robert Fairchild (NYC Ballet principal dancer) as an American soldier who lingers in Paris after WWII and Leanne Cope (of London’s Royal Ballet) as the unattainable French girl he falls in love with. Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron played these roles in the film, and comparisons would not be out of line. It’s hard to breathe during the dreamy, 14-minute ballet that brings the show to a close with the lovers locked at last in each other’s arms — not only because the love story is so romantic, but because we rarely see this kind of dancing on Broadway and it’s hard to let it go. Fairchild and Cope are trained ballet dancers, so every move they execute in this pas de deux is poised, eloquent and technically flawless. But these stars prove equally credible as all-around Broadway performers who can sing and act on a professional level, too. Throughout their last dance, American G.I. Jerry Mulligan (Fairchild) and his beloved Lise Dassin (Cope) hold each other’s gaze as closely as they hold each other’s body, oblivious to the rest of the world.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF An American in Paris

    One of the most beloved MGM movie musicals from the Arthur Freed stable gets new life on the Broadway stage

    David Rooney

    April 12, 2015: Some Broadway seasons can slip by leaving the sad impression that the expressive power of dance in the musical-theater lexicon has been forgotten. But this one has already yielded the joyous resurrection of Jerome Robbins' buoyant moves in "On the Town." Now comes ballet luminary Christopher Wheeldon, taking an exhilarating leap as director-choreographer with "An American in Paris," another show indelibly associated with a classic MGM movie musical. Not only is Wheeldon's nuanced command of storytelling through dance front and center, the production also foregrounds a triple-threat revelation in NYC Ballet principal Robert Fairchild, who proves himself more than capable of following in the suave footsteps of Gene Kelly. If playwright Craig Lucas' book scenes at times seem over-complicated, and some of the songs feel shoehorned in rather than integral to the plot, that's a small price to pay. When the music is this glorious, who's complaining? And perhaps it's inevitable that when the many and varied dance interludes convey such soaring romance with such grown-up sophistication — not to mention settings so evocative you can practically smell the fresh-baked baguettes — dialogue scenes can sometimes seem an impediment. But an awkward transition or two can't diminish the pleasures of a show that's one long sustained swoon. And given that "An American in Paris" began as a jazz- and classical-influenced 1928 symphonic suite by George Gershwin (the popular songs, written with his lyricist brother Ira, were added for the movie), story was never going to be its strongest suit.

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  • AM NEW YORK REVIEW OF An American in Paris

    'An American in Paris' theater review

    Matt Windman

    April 12, 2015: Call it déjà vu, a coincidence or odd planning, but there are now two musicals on Broadway based on Oscar-winning 1950s Technicolor MGM movie musicals that starred Leslie Caron, were directed by Vincente Minnelli and are romances set in Paris. Last week "Gigi" opened, and now there's "An American in Paris." But whereas "Gigi" is technically a revival, "An American in Paris" has never been done on stage. What also sets it apart are its intricate ballet sequences from ballet star Christopher Wheeldon (who serves as director-choreographer), exceptional music supervision from Rob Fisher, a dazzling design scheme by Bob Crowley and an unusually somber book by playwright Craig Lucas. It is also yet another musical that ransacks the Gershwin song catalog (in the tradition of "Crazy for You" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It").

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