The buoyant An American in Paris is rightly regarded as a high point for the Hollywood musical, but the reputation of this latest stage adaptation might soon surpass it! Winning four Tony Awards during its Broadway run, Christopher Wheeldon's reimagining of the Gershwin musical re-purposes the story for a modern audience, retaining its delicate romantic air while grounding the tale in a more realistic post-war landscape.
Following the fortunes of expat Jerry Mulligan as he tries to make it in Paris, this iconic show contains some of Gershwin's best known numbers, including 'S Wonderful', 'I Got Rhythm' and 'They Can't Take That Away from Me'. It all builds to the climatic title number, a fourteen minute long ballet piece which stands as one of the composer's most impressive feats.
A (Brief) History
The original movie An American in Paris opened in 1951, directed by Vincenti Minnelli (Liza's dad). Earning six Academy Awards, the film marked Gene Kelly's ascension to the top of the Hollywood table, with Singin' in the Rain following a year later. This latest Broadway production premiered, fittingly enough, at Paris' Theatre du Chalet in 2014, before transferring over the Atlantic. It was met with glowing notices by New York critics, who praised its lavish stage design and elegantly conceived ballet sequences.
What is An American in Paris About?
After witnessing the horrors of World War II, American veteran Jerry Mulligan decides a fresh start is in order and moves to Paris. Inspired by the creativity and romance which fills his new hometown's boulevards, Mulligan sets his heart on becoming a painter. Once he gains a wealthy sponsor for a solo exhibition, his career seems to be on the rise, and coupled with the fact he has just met a beautiful girl by the name of Lise, his life can't seem to get any better.
Yet Lise seems unwilling to wholeheartedly return his affection, and when the reason for her reticence is revealed, it threatens to cast a cloud over Jerry's previously joyous existence in the city of love.