|Nick Spangler and cast|
photo by Matthew Murphy
Click here for more information on this production that runs through April 23.
"....the national touring production of An American in Paris, now playing at ASU Gammage in Tempe until Sunday, April 23...Director Christopher Wheeldon is an English choreographer of ballet ... has created something spectacularly unusual for a musical production...the show presents a practically flawless presentation of the classic French art form...and with professionally trained ballet dancers who can also sing and dance making up the cast, the end result is mesmerizing....with the ever fluid movements of swirling bodies, arms, and legs, it’s like watching a dream continually unfolding to the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin. There is no other form of dance that conveys the emotions of romantic love in quite the same way. ...That allusion of a dream extends beyond the dance to all aspects of the production; sets, costumes, sound, and the Tony award-winning lighting and scenic designs...The overall effect is quite remarkable, particularly when those designs often appear to bathe the auditorium in strikingly clear, rich, primary colors....The show, like its leading lady, is radiant." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)
".There have been numerous award winning hit Broadway musicals that became Oscar winning Best Picture films, but An American in Paris is the first musical to go from winning the top prize at the Academy Awards... to receiving 12 Tony nominations and four wins for its 2015 Broadway adaptation. The national tour, in town for a week long run, is a visually breathtaking and sumptuous production filled with many moments of exquisite dance. Craig Lucas' new book for this stage adaptation uses the characters and situations from the film yet adds in many new elements and plot points. Set at the end of World War II, the story follows American soldiers Jerry Mulligan and Adam Hochberg who decide to remain in Paris. Jerry is a painter and Adam a composer and they strike up a friendship with local Henri Baurel...Jerry and Adam become involved in the creation of a new ballet and all three friends find themselves infatuated with, unbeknownst to the each other, the ballet's mysterious lead dancer Lise Dassin. While it is a fairly typical boy meets girl story with a love triangle element (or in this case a love quadrangle), it is also a show in which just about everyone has secrets—whether about their past, their artistic talents, or their secret love for Lise. Using much of the music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin from the film plus several other Gershwin compositions, and exquisitely directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon (he won a Tony for his choreography), it is a perfect combination of song, story and dance. ...danced by an exceptional cast who deliver detailed and fluid moves including superb lifts and leaps full of precise execution, style and passion. The tour cast is sublime. McGee Maddox and Sara Esty are Jerry and Lise and both deliver refined portrayals with excellent dance abilities. ..his performance is full of layers and nuance ..The power and determination he brings to the role fleshes out this conflicted man. ..Her thoughtful, mysterious portrayal of Lise is perfect and she brings such beauty to her dancing with a strong stage presence that you can't take your eyes off of her. Both Maddox and Esty's dance skills are spotless and full of grace, vibrancy and elegance. As Adam and Henri, Etai Benson and Nick Spangler deliver clear portrayals of these very different men...While both men don't have anywhere near as many dance opportunities as Maddox, they do deliver a spectacular "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" which includes some nice steps that the two effortlessly deliver and is a crowd pleaser. Both also have rich singing voices that provide beautiful renditions of several Gershwin classics. ...The creative elements provide constantly changing visual delights. Set designer Bob Crowley and 59 Productions (projections) won the Best Scenic Design Tony for their exceptional efforts ....Natasha Katz also won the Tony for her evocative lighting design. With a brilliant cast, superb creative elements, sensational choreography that is flawlessly danced by an exceptional cast, and the excellent music of the Gershwins, An American in Paris is a sumptuous feast for the senses. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)
"If you’re a ballet lover, you need to beg, borrow or steal, whatever it takes, to get tickets to “An American in Paris” at ASU Gammage. And if you don’t like ballet … um, are you sure? Because this show just might make a convert of you...." - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)