AN AMERICAN IN PARIS by Carol Kaufman Segal
An American In Paris was a musical film produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1951 starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, and Oscar Levant, and directed by Vincent Minelli. It was a big success, winning six Oscars and receiving two other nominations. The musical play was inspired by the Academy Award winning film and opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on April, 2015. The hit musical won several Tony Awards and is still running on Broadway today. The Hollywood Pantages Theatre is proud to be bringing the wonderful touring company of this spectacular musical to Los Angeles.
The era is 1945 post World War II in Paris, and ex-GI Jerry Mulligan (Garen Scribner) has remained in Paris in order to pursue his artistic talent. He meets a lovely French girl, Lise Dassin (Sara Esty), a ballerina who works in a perfumery and he falls for her instantly. He is unaware that he is not the only one who longs for Lise. There is his friend, composer/piano- playing Adam Hochberg (Etai Benson), as well as Henri Baurel (Nick Spangler), a wealthy young man who wants a career singing and dancing, who also becomes his friend
Jerry is not very successful trying to sell his paintings on the sidewalk until Milo Davenport (Emily Ferranti) meets him and offers to help him. She is also impressed by Lise’s talent as a ballerina and makes plans to finance a new ballet for her and to showcase Jerry’s art and Adam’s music. It is obvious that Milo is interested in Jerry for more than his art, but when she sees how much he is in love with Lise, she relents.
As Lise and Jerry spend more time together, at times she appears to have feelings for him, but somehow holds back. He finally discovers that she is engaged to Henri who plans to marry her and take her back to the United States where he has received a job doing to fulfill his dream. Though Lise is in love with Jerry, she feels obligated to marry Henri who saved her during the war. She and Henri walk away together, but he sends her back to Jerry.
The book by Craig Lucas (inspired by the film) is not what makes An American In Paris so great. It is simply the background for the magnificent dancing and dancers (choreography by Christopher Wheeldon who is also the director), the beautiful voices and acting, wonderful George and Ira Gershwin music (Music Director David Andrews Rogers), lavish costumes, and glorious sets (sets and costume designs by Bob Crowly). Just a very few pieces of Gershwin’s music you will enjoy hearing are I Got Rhythm, The Man I Love, S Wonderful, But Not For Me, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, and An American in Paris. The crème de la crème is the beautiful ballet performed by Esty and Scribner to An American In Paris.
I recall seeing the movie in 1951which I loved, but there is nothing like seeing An American In Paris come to life on the stage, especially with such a magnificent company of singers, dancers, and musicians, as well as those behind the scenes.
An American In Paris will be appearing at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 1 PM and 6:30 PM, through April 9. Tickets are available at www.HollywooPantages.com, or www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 982-2787, or at the Hollywood Pantages Box Office, located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. which opens daily at 10 AM except on holidays. An American In Paris is recommended for ages 6 and up. (Children under 5 will not be admitted to the theatre, and all patrons must have a ticket, regardless of age.)