My friend and fellow intern Hillary won the An American in Paris ticket lottery yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be brought me along. We got cheap tickets in the second row, which means we were up close and personal with the dancers – and that’s what really matters, because though I love a Gershwin song and they manged to craft a cohesive and at times moving story out of the muddle of a film. But just like in the movie, the star here is Chris WheeldonChris Wheeldon‘s choreography (he also directed). And it is danced brilliantly by Leanne Cope as Lise and Garen Scribner stepping into Gene Kelly’s part. Which, honestly must be one of the most daunting things as a dancer, but he has Kelly’s charm & ease (and athletic ability) – not to mention he was not hard to look at from the second row.
Speaking of beauty, the costumes and sets (both by Bob Crowley) were gorgeous, which makes sense given the importance of design to the plot.
The supporting cast was also great, including Max Von Essen (above) and Brandon Uranowitz as Adam the jazz pianist/composer whose role is greatly expanded from the film. He sings “But Not For Me,” which is (because of Four Weddings and a Funeral) one of my all time favorite songs and he belted it out perfectly.
It can feel weird to blog about things like musicals while the world is in such awful turmoil, but I’m not sure what I have to offer the important conversation our country needs to have about racism and violence and hatred. But, this show tries to make the argument for bringing more beauty into the world in the face of destruction, and that resonated for me last night. So maybe that’s what I’ve got…