Why New York Visitors Will Love An American In Paris

Broadway Collection News contributor Elyse Pitock is not only a huge theatre fan, she also works as a playwright and has been a recipient of the Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights award, Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwrights, Inc. National Playwriting award, and others.

Elyse recently had the opportunity to watch An American in Paris and believes New York City visitors will love the show. “If you’ve seen the 1956 classic MGM movie musical with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, you’re in for a treat: This reworking of the film has a new story and new songs and is a completely new experience. But the Gershwin songs everyone remembers from the film are still there, and iconic ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has created some amazing new dances for the show. Ballet pros Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope play the main couple—former American GI Jerry and aspiring Parisian ballerina Lise—and are making their Broadway debuts. They’ve both already received Tony nominations for their work, as have Brandon Uranowitz and Max von Essen, two Broadway vets who play rivals for Lise’s love.

And when they break into those Gershwin songs, they bring down the house. “I Got Rhythm” is a dazzling opener, “The Man I Love” is a lovely dream of romance and “‘Swonderful” is a sweet trio for the three men unwittingly singing about the same woman. Uranowitz and von Essen shine in the “I’ll Build A Stairway to Paradise” production number, which stops the show cold in all the best ways. The instrumental numbers (several of them full-fledged ballet routines) are also gorgeous, and under Musical Director Brad Haak’s guidance, the orchestra sounds top-tier. (How often do you get to hear a full orchestra play classics from the American Songbook, after all?) And, of course, there’s that final ballet, which Christopher Wheeldon makes entirely new and truly jaw-dropping.

An American in Paris isn’t the same light, completely family-friendly MGM film MGM film we all remember, but that’s a good thing. It’s darker and edgier and has some bite to it that makes it a deeper and more complex piece of theater. This show has good group rates and availability right now.