How do you say de-gorgeous!!! Divine! Ooh-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! This sumptuous and very inventive adaptation of the 1951 film of the same name is one of the most boldly beautiful musicals to arrive on Broadway this or any other season. An American In Paris follows a young American soldier as he pursues a beautiful French girl as he’s making a new home in Paris in the aftermath of World War II.
Ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is having his first go at directing a Broadway musical with An American in Paris and he hits it out of the ballpark. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that someone from the world of ballet should have a knack for musical-theater structure – that world has been dealing with long-form theatrical storytelling for longer than the American musical has existed.
Wheeldon sets a brisk pace, and while there is copious and sophisticated dancing in the show, it never eclipses the story or Gershwin’s glorious music. Part of what makes this show so very beautiful is the elegant way that design elements dance with each other. Projection design firm 59 Productions can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. They set the highly-innovative gold standard for projections, and their work on American in Paris is their most fluid, varied and ravishing yet.
Set and costume designer Bob Crowley plays along very gamely along with Wheeldon and 59; his sets move with the fluidity of Wheeldon’s dances, and provide a perfect canvas for 59 to paint upon. This is the height of collaboration, and a brilliant testament to the glories that collaboration can produce. Highly recommended.
For tickets, click here.
To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.