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Saturday, 05 November 2016 15:44

“An American in Paris” Plays Shea’s in Buffalo Next Week

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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Most Awarded New Musical

of Broadway’s 2015 Season

By Dennis Kucherawy

This Tuesday, Presidential election night in the USA, Buffalo first-nighters will be swept away to the City of Light when the national touring production of George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” arrives for a week-long engagement at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.  It runs from Tuesday, Nov. 8th to Sunday, Nov. 13th.

Among the cast of the 2015 four-time Tony Award-winning musical will be leads Garen Scribner and Sara Esty who will re-create their Broadway performances as Jerry Mulligan and Lise Dassin.  Director Christopher Wheeldon, who won a Tony for choreography, is well-known to Toronto audiences for his acclaimed 2011 full-length ballet “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” a co-commission with Covent Garden’s Royal Ballet.

Craig Lucas (“Sousatzka”) wrote the musical’s book.

The New York Times greeted the show’s arrival with a rave review, calling it “rhapsodic,” “ebullient” and a gorgeously danced, and just plain gorgeous” stage adaptation.  Critic Charles Isherwood gushed: “`An American in Paris’” weds music and movement, song and story with such exhilarating brio that you may find your own feet fidgeting under your seat before it’s over, and your heart alight with a longing to be swept up in the dance.”

The musical is inspired by the Academy-Award winning film (Best Picture plus others) of the same name that starred Gene Kelly and Leslie.  It is a romantic tale about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of WW II.  The story is complimented by several Gershwin songs, now standards, and climaxes with a luscious, beautiful 17-minute ballet set to the composer’s 1928 symphonic poem, his musical depiction of the energy, sights and sounds of the French capital of the time.  The songs include “Our Love is Here to Stay,” “I Got Rhythm,” “Liza “and “’S Wonderful.”

(The musical includes such additional orchestral music as “Concerto in F,” “Second Prelude” and “Second Rhapsody/Cuban Overture.”)

Gene Kelly also choreographed the movie that was directed by Vincente Minnelli.  Alan Jay Lerner (“My Fair Lady” plus others) wrote the screenplay.

The musical adaptation, designed by Bob Crowley, creates its own special world, outshining, the New York Times said in 2015, “anything currently on Broadway with its blend of elegance, wit and sophistication.  With its shimmering, poetic renderings of one of the world’s most beautiful cities – boats floating in the Seine awash in starlight, pink clouds scudding over the rooftops at dusk – the music is as rich a visual feast as it is a musical one.”

The Times also praised the dancing: “Mr. Wheeldon’s buoyant dances and the heat-generating energy of youth in the process of self-discovery, through love (and) through art…”

“An American in Paris” had its world premiere engagement in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris from Nov. 22nd 2014 to Jan. 4th, 2015. Then, it opened at Broadway’s Palace Theatre that April to widespread critical acclaim. It recently played its 500th performance.

A London West End production is scheduled to premiere this March at the Dominion Theatre.

Visit Song & Script for the musical’s songbook and CD of the original Broadway cast recording that was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.


Eight performances beginning next Tuesday, Nov. 8th:

Tuesday – Thursday,

Nov. 8th-10th –               7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 11th - 8 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 12th -            2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 13th -           2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

To order tickets, please call (716) 847-0850 or visit www.sheas.org.  Tickets also are available at the Shea’s ticket office, 650 Main St.  To book a group of more than 15, please call 716-829-1153.

and Instagram @SheasBFLO.

Additional information is available at www.AnAmericanInParisBroadway.com

and www.sheas.org.

By Dennis Kucherawy

Last modified on Saturday, 05 November 2016 15:49
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