A Broadway producer friend of mine told me that I should not miss An American in Paris, and he was absolutement correct! If you love musicals, Paris, the Gershwins, AND/OR dance, then this is a show you should say "oui" to before it dances off into the sunset.
Written by George and Ira Gershwin, An American in Paris takes place in the City of Lights in 1945, just after France is liberated from the Nazis at the end of WWII. As Paris emerges from the shadows, It's beautiful how the sets swirl and dance to recreate the city. And "dance" is the key word here, as the stunning ballet dancing showcased throughout the show is unforgettable.
Robert Fairchild, lead dancer of the New York City Ballet, and Sara Esty, former soloist of the Miami City Ballet, shine as the American GI Jerry Mulligan and the secretive shopgirl/ballet dancer Lise Dassin, who meet by chance on Paris' vibrant and complicated city streets. They are joined by Max Von Essen as Henri Baurel, a man who wants to propose to Lise (perhaps more out of a sense of duty then out of true love), and tortured composer/narrator Adam Hochberg played by Brandon Uranowitz, who brings a bit of needed comic relief to the show. All three men earned Tony Award nominations for their roles in this production, and that's not surprising since they are all true triple-threats as singers, actors, and dancers.
The audience gets to watch as this trio of leading men are inspired by -- and fall in love with -- Lise, but which one will she choose? Only after a stunning, cubist-inspired ballet that makes your heart leap along with Fairchild's soaring jumps, do we find the answer. Fairchild is simply amazing; not to mix musicals, but I could have watched him dance all night!
Of course, the show is not just about the dancing. The acting, inspiring sets, singing, and songs are all great. Many classic songs from the American Songbook, such as "I Got Rhythm," "'S Wonderful," and "But Not For Me" come from this show.
An American In Paris, based on the 1951 film starring Gene Kelly, is now playing at the Palace Theatre in the heart of Times Square. I will share my friend's sentiments in saying that you should not miss this show, because "'S wonderful! 'S marvelous!"
Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm. You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.
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