An American in Paris: A New Musical is currently running on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. The show opened on April 12, 2015 and runs 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission.
The musical is an adaptation of the 1951 MGM movie that starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Like the movie, the musical features songs by George and Ira Gershwin.
Craig Lucas wrote the book.
Before continuing, let’s quickly answer five pressing questions you probably have about An American in Paris: A New Musical…
Yes… the climax of the movie is a 16-minute ballet to Gershwin’s symphonic poem “American in Paris.”
Yes… the musical and movie share the same era, setting, and characters. The two main characters are still Jerry Mulligan (played by Gene Kelly in the movie) and Lise Bouvier (played by Leslie Caron).
Yes… the musical is as romantic as the movie.
No… the plot of the musical is not the same as the plot of the movie but they are similar.
No… not all the songs from the movie made it into the musical and several tunes have been added, but all are written by the Greshwins.
An American in Paris: A New Musical is your traditional Broadway musical. That description is by no means a pejorative because An American in Paris does “traditional” about as well as it can be done.
The production captured Best Musical of the Year honors from both the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama League. Generally, critics have applauded the adaptation for reinvigorating the good, old fashion American musical.
On one hand, the success of An American in Paris: A New Musical is easy to understand. The movie it’s adapted from is a bona fide classic.
Yet, the show was directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, a Broadway rookie, and the principal characters were originally played by ballet dancers, Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope.
Despite the lack of experience and acting chops, An American in Paris: A New Musical works on just about every level. It has tons of heart and is a genuine great evening of musical theatre.
Besides the music and dance numbers, the highlight of the production is the amazing sets and costumes. Designing these feasts for the eyeballs is the fecund and talented Bob Crowley.
If the show has one shortcoming it’s its story (which was also a weakness of the movie). Fortunately, everything else is so well done, and so charming, that you won’t mind the forced and unbelievable plot contrivances.
Songs In Both The Musical And The Movie
Concerto in F
"I Got Rhythm"
"I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise"
An American in Paris Ballet
For some reason, “Our Love Is Here to Stay” missed the cut. Omitting such a great Gershwin tune has to be one of the biggest mysteries to ever hit the Great White Way.