It's time for our regular Thursday visit with Midday's peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom in the studio today with her review of An American in Paris, the touring stage adaptation of the Gershwin-inspired 1951 film musical. The Tony Award-winning production premiered on Broadway in 2015, hit the road in 2016, and is just now making its local stop at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theater.
Like the classic Vincente Minnelli film -- which starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron and won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture -- this award-winning stage adaptation tells the story of an American World War II veteran and aspiring painter who lingers in the newly-liberated Paris of 1945 and falls in love with a young French woman. Also like the film, the stage version weaves their complicated romance through a rich tapestry of George Gershwin's brilliant orchestral works -- including the titular An American in Paris, the Concerto in F and a Second Rhapsody/Cuban Overture medley -- and more than a dozen of the incomparable songs that George and his brother Ira Gershwin penned during the 1920s and 30s. Show numbers include I Got Rhythm, S'Wonderful, But Not for Me, Stairway to Paradise, and They Can't take That Away. And as in the Gene Kelly-choreographed film, a lot of that great music is set wonderfully to dance.
An American in Paris is directed and choreographed at the Hippodrome by Christopher Wheeldon, who guides a 30-member cast that (on opening night) featured Kyle Robinson (alternating for McGee Maddox) in the role of American soldier Jerry Mulligan, and Allison Walsh as Lise Dassin, the young French woman who captures Jerry's heart. Matthew Scott played the moody musician Adam Hochberg, and Ben Michael portrayed Parisian singer and Lise's steady, Henri Baurel.
David Andrews Rogers is the show's Music Director and Conductor.
An American in Paris continues at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre until Sunday May 6.