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Christopher Wheeldon Takes On Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron"An American in Paris" - new Broadway production


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#76 Buddy

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:48 AM

Thanks very much, dirac and sandik, for your comments. Alternating casts and would seem possible, along with divertissement dancing, to lighten the load of a lot of dancing as is done with full length ballets.

 

The comment in the article that "the stage version is relatively faithful to the film" (note the word "relatively") still intrigues me, although that may only refer to "the show's producers described two differences", a younger age for the leads and a few years earlier for the setting. 



#77 sidwich

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:53 PM

I don't think there's any way a stage adaptation could be anymore than "relatively" faithful to the film.  Just the concept of the ballet alone, dancing through famous paintings... that would be extremely difficult to recreate anything like it onstage.  Just the mechanics of moving all the sets necessary and getting the costume changes in in a timely fashion, let alone the wear and tear of dancers performing every night.  I just don't see how it would be possible.

 

Even mundane things need to be taken into account in doing a stage adaptation.  When "Singin' in the Rain" was adapted, the initial attempt did try to stay close to the film, and it was pretty disastrous from what I've heard from people who worked on it.  I mean, there's the obvious... how does anyone do "Make 'em Laugh" 8 times a week and not kill themselves eventually? 

 

But just getting from scene to scene could turn into an issue.  The set piece 'Singin' in the Rain" precedes a scene in the studio office, and initially, the stage musical followed the scene sequence which sounds okay on paper.  But when put into practice, it resulted in the excellent Don Correia (playing Don) show up wet and shivering in the next scene because there was no time for him to dry off after "Singin' in the Rain."

 

If the stage adaptation goes anywhere, I would be surprised if it doesn't get filled out with some additional Gershwin songs.  There aren't that many in the film and it's pretty common for stage musicals generally to have around 10-12.



#78 Buddy

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:57 AM

If the stage adaptation goes anywhere, I would be surprised if it doesn't get filled out with some additional Gershwin songs.  There aren't that many in the film and it's pretty common for stage musicals generally to have around 10-12.

 

You've made very good points, sidwich. As for more songs though, why has the "workshop" casted two ballet dancers? Your response probably might be, "they can recast." So we'll see. 
 
Also, I guess I'm just liking very much the possibility of a dance oriented production. That idea for this dance lover is exciting and this is what Chris Wheeldon is, and Gene Kelly was, brilliant at, although Chris Wheeldon may turn out to be a fine musical director as well.


#79 sidwich

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:20 PM

 

If the stage adaptation goes anywhere, I would be surprised if it doesn't get filled out with some additional Gershwin songs.  There aren't that many in the film and it's pretty common for stage musicals generally to have around 10-12.

 

You've made very good points, sidwich. As for more songs though, why has the "workshop" casted two ballet dancers? Your response probably might be, "they can recast." So we'll see. 
 

 

Well, quite frankly, I think that's why Bart Scher has been brought in.  I'm not in love with all of Scher's work, but he is a very experienced theatre director and knows what is feasible on the theatrical stage and what is not. 

 

And no, workshop casting is no guarantee of Broadway casting.  At all.  The workshop casting is probably a good opportunity to get an idea of what the Wheeldon choreography and concept look like, but beyond that.... who knows?  Just ask Stephanie J. Block (who was infamously passed over for the Broadway cast of Wicked after the workshops).

 

I would love to see a good dance oriented musical production as well, but I am concerned about Chris Wheeldon helming what is sure to be a very complex, multi-million dollar musical production as his first venture into musical theatre.



#80 Buddy

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:42 PM

Thanks again, sidwich. All that you've just written makes very good sense.
 
Quite early on they must have known about the multi-million dollar investment and the mere fact that they entrusted this to Christopher Wheeldon is quite a compliment. I'm becoming as curious about the original concept as I am about the outcome.
 
I'm holding out for a *Dance-Oriented-Wheeldon-Kelly-Caron-Signature-Piece-State-Of-The-Art* Production and nothing less. flowers.gif  


#81 abatt

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:44 AM

Here's a rather long interview with the head of the Paris theater which commissioned the project.  It gives some insight into various elements of the project.

 

http://www.playbill....ims-Passion/pg1

 

It sounds like they are trying to beef up the "story":

 

"It's a star movie about stars and dance, but there is no theatre without a great story, and we are working on a great concept with Craig Lucas."

 

"The characters, he said, "will have been through, for different reasons, difficult situations. The stories between the characters can be more developed than the story that we see in the film."



#82 sandik

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:16 PM

"The characters, he said, "will have been through, for different reasons, difficult situations. The stories between the characters can be more developed than the story that we see in the film."

 

I thought that was pretty clear in the film -- am I remembering a different movie?



#83 pherank

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:53 PM

 

"The characters, he said, "will have been through, for different reasons, difficult situations. The stories between the characters can be more developed than the story that we see in the film."

 

I thought that was pretty clear in the film -- am I remembering a different movie?

 

 

LOL. Yes I agree - the backstory for Jerry and even Lise is pretty well developed in the film. Perhaps Lise's story could have used more details, but she was a girl, growing up in Paris, so we don't require lots of important life events from her (those will come).



#84 dirac

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:02 PM

 

"The characters, he said, "will have been through, for different reasons, difficult situations. The stories between the characters can be more developed than the story that we see in the film."

 

I thought that was pretty clear in the film -- am I remembering a different movie?

 

 

The same thought occurred to me, sandik. As sidwich pointed out earlier, Jerry is a war veteran. Lise is younger but she too is a kind of veteran -- she was orphaned by the war and Henri  came to her aid (becoming her legal guardian), which is the reason she feels obliged to go through with her promise to marry him. So the movie characters have been through quite a share of "difficult situations."  In addition you also have the implied affair of Jerry with the Nina Foch character (Milo), a rich woman "keeping" a poor artist. The relationship is handled frankly for the time. These are fairly dense relationships.



#85 Helene

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:25 PM

I didn't realize Bartlett Sher directed the world premiere of Nico Muhly's "Two Boys" at the Metropolitan Opera, which opened this past Monday.  



#86 carbro

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:23 PM

Here's the soundtrack of the film.  Lise does not sing. 

 

One question for me is, who will play the Oscar Levant role?

 

A second is, IF Robbie Fairchild ultimately lands the Jerry role, why has no one yet suggested that Lise be played (if she can muster a credible French accent) by his fiancee/Broadway veteran, Tiler Peck, with whom he shares such great on-stage chemistry?

 

And finally, how can this number possibly be translated to a live performance????  blink.png

 



#87 Buddy

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:16 AM

Thanks for posting this, carbro. It's a charming memory.
 
The New York Times article from Oct. 16 says, 
 
"The musical will have its own lengthy ballet sequence, completely reconceived by the show’s director and choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon…." -- so literal recreation does not seem to be the idea.
 
 
And what sidwich wrote also makes a lot of sense.
 
"I don't think there's any way a stage adaptation could be anymore than "relatively" faithful to the film.  Just the concept of the ballet alone, dancing through famous paintings... that would be extremely difficult to recreate anything like it onstage.  Just the mechanics of moving all the sets necessary and getting the costume changes in in a timely fashion, let alone the wear and tear of dancers performing every night.  I just don't see how it would be possible."
 
Trying to literally translate the movie may not be desirable or as you and sidwich suggest even possible. I would hope that there's a recognizable resemblance and that it's the Charming Spirit and Delightful Brilliance of the Movie that they preserve along with an emphasis on what Chris Wheeldon so far creates best -- Dance. 
 
[last paragraph slightly reword]


#88 lmspear

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:30 AM

A second is, IF Robbie Fairchild ultimately lands the Jerry role, why has no one yet suggested that Lise be played (if she can muster a credible French accent) by his fiancee/Broadway veteran, Tiler Peck, with whom he shares such great on-stage chemistry?

 

Peck is working on the "Little Dancer" project which is also aiming for Broadway.  She'll be playing the young version of the Degas statue with Susan Stroman directing/choreographing.  So Fairchild & Peck could possibly be on Broadway at the same time in the near future, but they would have to find a worm hole that would let them time travel to appear on the same stage at the same time. (I'm being very very sillyhappy.png .)



#89 carbro

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:38 PM

Peck is working on the "Little Dancer" project which is also aiming for Broadway.

Whoops! blushing.gif  That fact slipped from my mind.  Thanks for slipping back in, lmspear.



#90 dirac

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:40 PM

The ballet in the movie is choreographed and staged for the camera, like the ballet in "The Red Shoes," which also didn't contain a lot of sustained dancing and had many changes of scene impossible for a theater. It's unsurprising that Wheeldon would want to present his own choreography. As observed previously, it looks as if his leads will be doing an awful lot of dancing.....

 

It also occurs to me that even though Caron didn't sing there's no reason why the new Lise(s) shouldn't -- particularly if they are adding more songs, which is likely.




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