May 9, 2015 matinee
This past weekend, I saw a performance of An American in Paris, which was nominated for a whopping twelve Tony Awards this season. Based on the 1951 musical film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, An American in Paris is comprised of the musical works of George and Ira Gershwin. The storyline follows an American World War II veteran named Jerry Mulligan as he falls for a young Parisian dancer, Lise Dassin. However, Lise is inconveniently betrothed to the French singer, Henri Baurel, who is conveniently questioning his sexuality as he pursues a career as a performer. Though it seems complicated from a superficial perspective, the storyline is actually quite simple- perhaps too simple. Fortunately, the production abounds with exquisite choreography that adds layer and depth to the rather unambiguous plot.
I was also taken with the effortless flow of the production, a credit to director and choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon. The best word to describe the production as a whole is: fluid. The choreography was absolutely ethereal, led by Leanne Cope (of the Royal Ballet) and Robert Fairchild (of the NYC Ballet) who were both nominated for Tony Awards this season. Although dancers by trade, both could sing and act fairly well, with the most dramatic acting emerging from their expressive dancing.