I was there at opening night. This is my first chance to post anything.
It’s a fine and very sympathetic production. There’s a lot to like here. Some parts are absolutely outstanding.
My sentimental favorite has to be Leanne Cope as Lise. She radiates Leslie Caron. She is lovable, precious and highly talented. She sings beautifully. She’s in three songs including a solo and a duet. Her acting (with a French accent) is first rate. Her dancing, of course, is excellent. Interestingly, Sara Esty, whom I like very much, formerly Miami City Ballet, is her understudy backup.
Robert Fairchild sings fine, much better than I was expecting. He’s in five songs, including one duet. His acting is also fine. If he doesn’t project quite as much as the theatrical professionals alongside, it might actually add to the reserved, somewhat innocent charm of his character. And his dancing, naturally, is the best.
The play seems evenly balanced between song and dance, drama and ballet. It’s a Broadway musical comedy. Much, if not all, of the supporting cast seems to be from Broadway and the main supporting actors/actresses do a lot to solidify everything. They include Brandon Uranowitz (Adam Hochberg), Max von Essen (Henri Baurel) and Jill Pace (Milo Davenport). The Livret by Craig Lucas works fine. Not all the songs are from the movie, but they’re all Gershwin.
The scenery (with lots of projected imagery), created by Bob Crowly, is perhaps the most artistically outstanding element of the production. It’s great !
My favorite part is when Leanne Cope is seen dancing, through projection, in several large mirrors. She appears in one and then another as a silvery image. Each sequence is brief, very 21st century and captivating. It all lasts about five minute and is probably meant to reflect the movie scene where Henri is describing Lise and she appears in different costumes and settings. The staging here is absolutely brilliant !
The movie’s seventeen minute dance sequence is reinterpreted very well by Christopher Wheeldon. All the play’s ballet dancing has fine moments of Wheeldon creativity. Sam Davis is given credit for “Dance Arrangements” in four of the song and dance numbers.
If someone were to ask for suggestions, they might consider slightly streamlining the first act. Also highlighting more and spiffying up the Christopher Wheeldon choreography would be nice, but maybe this isn’t the emphasis that they want. Still, it could make it one of a kind very special.
The audience seemed to enjoy it greatly. It runs for about three hours including one intermission. Everything was translated into french by an overhead printout as at an opera. I believe that there were four enthusiastic curtain calls.
This is a sincere, highly professional and first class effort by everyone. With a bit of time and some tweaking it could be a classic. It grows more dear in my mind with each recollection.
"Sous le charme d' ['Under the spell of....'] "Un Americain a Paris"...."
There are two preview video clips included.
(thanks to Dansomanie)
Correction made to post: Jill Pace is the actress and Milo Davenport is her character, not the reverse.