Previewed 4 March 2017, Opened 21 March 2017, Closed 6 January 2018 at the Dominion Theatre
The classic Gershwin Oscar-winning film An American in Paris in London - stunningly reimagined for the stage.
A young American GI pursues his dream to make it as a painter in Paris in the aftermath of war - but then he has a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer...
The West End transfer of the hit Broadway production with a cast of over 50 actors, dancers and musicians.
Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon with designs by Bob Crowley, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Jon Weston and video by 59 Productions. Music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and book by Craig Lucas with music score adaptations by Rob Fisher, based on the 1951 MGM film written by Alan Jay Lerner, directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by Arthur Freed.
The original West End cast featured Robert Fairchild as 'Jerry Mulligan' and Leanne Cope as 'Lise Dassin' who both reprised their roles from the original New York production. In London's West End they where joined by Haydn Oakley as 'Henri Baurel', Zoë Rainey as 'Milo Davenport', David Seadon-Young as 'Adam Hochberg' and Jane Asher as 'Madame Baurel' with Ashley Day as alternate 'Jerry Mulligan' (Monday evenings) and Daniela Norman as alternate 'Lise Dassin' (Wednesday evenings).
When this production opened at the Dominion Theatre in March 2017, Neil Norman in the Daily Express described how "this Gershwin-inspired show may not be the only musical/ballet hybrid but it is almost certainly the best... the entire edifice is so beautifully engineered that there isn't a weak spot or a dull moment... gobsmackingly brilliant." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times highlighted that it's "got rhythm, lashings of gorgeous Gershwin melody and, above all, Christopher Wheeldon’s witty choreography. This lavish musical, reworked for the stage by Wheeldon (who also directs) from the 1951 film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, is such a tonic it should be available on prescription." Michael Billington in the Guardian commented that, "with Rob Fisher supervising a score that includes a wealth of Gershwin classics, you feel as if the tarnished silver of the Vincente Minnelli movie has been turned into theatrical gold." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said "don't let's gripe about the staleness of the story and the formulaic characterisation. Let's celebrate the repeatedly inventive staging of director/ choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and his designer Bob Crowley." Ann Treneman in the Times wrote that "the set and costume design by Bob Crowley are magnificent," concluding that "it's a special show, this. 'S wonderful. 'S marvellous. Truly it is." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised how "this lavish, romantic show blends ballet and musical theatre — to frequently gorgeous effect... The story's still pretty thin, lacking much psychological substance, and the extra helpings of Gershwin aren't seamlessly integrated," but "when dance predominates this is a glorious experience." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph explained that "what the show does to perfection (besides airing music that's steeped to its marrow with a Jazz Age joie de vivre) is capture the hard-to-take-in beauty of Paris. Bob Crowley's set design is a marvel a minute."
Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope are both reprised the roles they played in this production on Broadway; Haydn Oakley's West End credits include the musicals Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse Theatre in 2015 and the original cast of The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2013; Zoë Rainey London credits include the plays Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at the Garrick Theatre in 2016; David Seadon-Young's West End theatre credits in the musicals Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 2009 and Gone with the Wind at the New London Theatre in 2008; Jane Asher's theatre credits include Pride and Prejudice at the Open Air Theatre in 2013 and Festen at the Lyric Theatre in 2004; and Ashley Day's London theatre credits include the musicals Evita at the Adelphi Theatre in 2006 and the original cast of Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2005. Previous George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin stage musical seen recently in London's West End include Porgy and Bess (Open Air Theatre 2014), Crazy For You (Novello Theatre 2011) and Lady, Be Good! (Open Air Theatre 2007).
"An American in Paris is a sunshine movie: a bright 1951 MGM classic in which Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron tap and gambol their way into romance. Now it becomes a stage musical with shadows: full of dance, romance and glorious Gershwin, yes, but gravely aware of what lies beneath. It’s a richly satisfying show, delivered with heart and flair... It’s a lovely show to look at. The projections are by the wizards at 59 Productions, sliding breathlessly from scene to scene and often taking their cue from Jerry’s sketchbooks. Cézanne-alike impressionism becomes bold blocks of colour as he finds his voice. Not everything works: Wheeldon whips up one capering number too many, and the French accents become a bit of a trial. But then comes the ballet. A West End show that ends with an abstract modern work? Mais oui. Set to the irresistible score, it’s a heart-catching ending to a show that knows optimism isn’t easy, and that deciding to look forward is an act of courage." The Sunday Times
"'Who says music needs to cheer people up?' asks Adam Hochberg, a jaundiced young composer at the start of An American In Paris. Well George Gershwin for one, since even a lovelorn song such as But Not For Me is sheer delight in this glorious musical reclamation. One of the last great MGM musicals, the 1951 film was a vehicle as much for Gene Kelly’s choreographic ambitions as Gershwin’s score. In the hands of director Christopher Wheeldon, the current master of narrative ballet, the girl for whom the Kelly character falls becomes a would-be ballerina and dance becomes both the subject and the means of telling the story... A succession of Gershwin standards is seamlessly inserted in the score, with the only notable loss being the Kelly/Caron duet Our Love Is Here To Stay. Wheeldon’s crowning achievement is the climactic dance, no longer a dream sequence but an abstract ballet performed by Lise and company on the Chatelet theatre stage. Bob Crowley's exquisite costumes eschew the film’s recreation of Impressionist and Fauvist paintings for Mondrian-inspired leotards... The most elegant, exuberant and tuneful musical in town." The Sunday Express
"The original MGM movie has a plot as flimsy as a ballerina's tutu - and that remains the case here. Director Christopher Wheeldon has added streaks of darkness by moving the Parisian setting to the immediate, shell-shocked aftermath of World War II and beefed up the story of shy shopgirl Lise, with whom three men are in love. But even these tweaks can't prevent the narrative substance of Lise's central romance with the eponymous Jerry - a former GI in Paris with dreams of becoming a painter - from feeling frustratingly low on the list of concerns. Yet this is a show that sets out to depict in movement and music the delirious sensation of falling in love and, in that respect, it's a thing of beauty... In fact everything appears to be dancing in Wheeldon's production. Props, be they large mirrors or a table and chairs, seem to waltz across the stage. Bob Crowley's designs are a visual pirouette of endlessly transmogrifying Parisian backdrops. Every detail here is attuned to the idea of movement as a language full of rhapsodic possibility. And then, of course, there's the score, which collates some of Gershwin's biggest hits, including the irresistible title track. Go and feel your heart take flight." The London Metro
The stage musical An American in Paris in London at the Dominion Theatre previewed from 4 March 2017 and opened on 21 March 2017 and closed on 6 January 2018.