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An American in Paris

June 16, 2017

 

An American in Paris, the 2015 musical adaptation of the 1951 movie of the same name, is out on tour and is currently at the Ordway Theater in Saint Paul. It tells the story of an American solider in Paris after the war, as he and his friends try to be artists finding beauty in the darkness, and struggle in love. 

Although the show can safely be categorized as a musical it also dives deep into ballet, using dance as a method of storytelling instead of just pure spectacle. Technically the show is stunning, the dancing is enchanting, Gershwin's music performed by the talented orchestra seems to float, and combined with the artful projections and animations at moments the show feels like a live action Fantasia

As beautiful as the show was technically I couldn't get into the story, mainly because I found the leading man Jerry Mulligan to be quite an unlikeable character. He fits quite well into the role of an obnoxious American, chasing a girl around and not leaving her alone when she asks, harassing her at work, and constantly insulting the French for not speaking English in France. The two other male characters are much more likable and I was confused as to why they weren't the central character. I am not familiar with the source material (1951 movie), and this character does make sense existing in a movie from the 50s but I found myself confused as to why this character would exist in a musical from 2015. 

This being said, if you are a fan of ballet or of Gershwin's music, this show is still worth seeing for the pure artistry alone. It is playing at the Ordway until June 18th. 

 

*Photo by Matthew Murphy

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