‘An American in Paris’ brings Parisian elegance to the Fox
The four-time Tony Award-winning production of “An American in Paris” is currently showing at the Fox Theatre through Aug. 20. Set in the aftermath of World War II, the ballet-musical tells the story of American soldier Jerry Mulligan and French dancer Lise Dassin as they search for a new beginning in post-war Paris.
Based on the 1951 film of the same name, the musical is a salute to American patriotism, jazz music and love, set against the ever-charming and romantic backdrop of Paris. Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, the musical features music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.
The plot, admittedly, is threadbare — barely strong enough to hold together the musical numbers, some of which exist solely to affirm the company’s ability to dance rather than to move the plot forward, while the songs themselves are equal parts sweet and forgettable.
Thankfully, the strength of “An American in Paris” lies in its ability to entrance audiences with sweeping motion, elegant dancing and powerful performances from its leads. Visually, “An American in Paris” is a masterpiece. The fluidity and movement of ballet elevates every performance, blending contemporary and classic perfectly. The audience will believe in the love story because of the moving and passionate duets between Lise and Jerry.
Additionally, the set design is clever and innovative, utilizing both static set pieces and dynamic motion media backdrops to fully bring audiences into the streets of post-war Paris and the art movements of the time.
Essentially, “An American in Paris” is a delightful show, if not for the storyline, but for the visuals and overall aesthetic. With the romantic and nostalgic setting, beautiful choreography, and solid performances, “An American in Paris” will keep fans of musical theatre and ballet delighted from start to finish.
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