An American in Paris | The Fabulous Fox Theatre

At the end of the day, your level of enjoyment will really come down to whether you adore dance. If you don’t, this musical definitely drags.

Every once in awhile, I decide to enter the theatre with little to no background knowledge on the show I’m about to see. This way my opinion isn’t bogged down by expectation, and it’s up to the production itself to create a curiosity within me for what will happen next. While I didn’t find An American in Paris’ story or character development to be particularly moving, its superb orchestration, choreography, and set design made up for its predictable plot.

Lise Dassin (Sara Esty) is a beautiful French ballerina, who not surprisingly catches the eyes of the show’s three male leads: Jerry Mulligan (Garen Scribner), Adam Hochberg (Etai Benson), and Henri Baurel (Nick Spangler). Naturally, the friends don’t realize they’re all in love with the same girl, and Henri is actually already dating her. With the atrocities of WWII behind them, all four of these characters are determined to make a name for themselves by pursuing their passions. Jerry, an American soldier, decides to stay in Paris to paint. Adam, who is also a veteran, is a talented composer hoping for a big break. Henri dreams of singing and dancing but is careful to ensure that his wealthy French industrialist parents know nothing of his pursuits in the arts. And Lise wants to dance full-time. Also looking to take advantage of the post-war energy permeating throughout Paris is American philanthropist Milo Davenport (Emily Ferranti). She takes an interest in Jerry, and their relationship dynamic is complicated to say the least.

Inspired by the 1951 film of the same name, An American in Paris consists of a significant number of dance sequences—there’s a ballet during the second act—and, as I said earlier, the choreography is breathtaking. Set and costume designer Bob Crowley was tasked with the challenge of creating visuals to compliment the mesmerizing movement onstage, and what he achieved is more stunning than words can describe. The scenery—just like George Gershwin’s music and Ira Gershwin’s lyrics—will successfully transport you away from this time and place, and the orchestra, led by David Andrews Rogers, deserved its very own standing ovation.

Despite these praises, I can’t say I’d suggest this show to everyone. It’s quite easy to grow bored with the script because the story is so straightforward. Yes, the songs are catchy and the cast is extremely talented, but at the end of the day, your level of enjoyment will really come down to whether you adore dance. If you don’t, this musical definitely drags. | Megan Washausen  

An American in Paris runs through January 29. For ticket information, visit http://www.fabulousfox.com/.  

Photo: Matthew Murphy

 

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