Paris is one of the most well known cities in the world that is also on my list of cities to visit. Known mostly for the romance, but many visit there for its culture, history, arts, food, and more. It has also been a favorite locale for the entertainment industry to tell some of its tales, and one of the most popular amongst them is “An American in Paris,” which is now a traveling stage production.
“An American in Paris” is the production based on the popular film, adapted for the stage by Craig Lucas. Featuring music by the George and Ira Gershwin, the performance we reviewed starred Garen Scribner as Jerry Mulligan, Sara Esty as Lise Dassin, Nick Spangler as Henri Baurel, Etai Benson as Adam Hochberg, Emily Ferranti as Milo Davenport, Gayton Scott as Madame Baurel and Don Noble as Monsieur Baurel. Taking place in Paris just after WWII, Jerry is an artist who has just gotten out of the Army and has decided to stay there instead of returning to the United States after a chance meeting with a mysterious beautiful woman. In his travels, he winds up in a bar where he meets Adam, a fellow American and composer, and Henri, a local socialite who wants to be an entertainer, despite his parents’ wishes. Through a chance meeting with Milo, all three wind up working on a new ballet with Lise as new lead dancer, and unbeknownst to each other, they have all fallen for her, adding the adoration that Milo has for Jerry just makes this a very complicated love pentagon.
The presentation here is very well done, with a backdrop that was able to change different images that added to the sets. There are some props added but not enough to overdo it, giving the production the ability to transition from scene to scene very well. The acting is also done well, with great chemistry between Scribner and Esty as well as Spangler and Benson.
The really unique thing here is that this is a combination between a musical and ballet production, with what could be the most dancing of any stage production I have seen. However, I really felt that the production was too long. At two and a half hours not including the intermission, “An American in Paris” and its fairly simple plot line truly dragged to the point that I really felt that an hour could have easily been cut out of it with the same amount of enjoyment. It was like all the creators cared about was the singing and dancing and they realized they forgot to add a plot and added one real fast. If they put as much into the storytelling as they did the dancing, this would have been incredible production. I still did like the production, but with some hesitation, I will still recommend it, but in mid balcony seating.