But hopefully not during the pas de deux. We saw the 2015 Broadway musical An American in Paris that was performed at the Fox Theater. It featured lots of Gershwin set to lots of ballet. It was all very professionally done. Still, when compared to the 1951 movie musical starring Gene Kelly, it comes away somewhat lacking. Call me old-fashioned, because when it comes to a stage production that are translated to the big screen, I’m willing to make allowances. It just seems like the natural flow among art forms, but when you reverse the stream, as in this case, it just doesn’t feel quite right. This musical comes away feeling more like a revue than a play. It doesn’t help that for most of the show the back of the stage is filled with a huge backlit video screen. You can see an example of the effect in the picture below. It almost that during the transition from film to live acting the umbilical was never severed.
Another thing that bugged me, even if it was in no way the fault of this show. I’m speaking of the yellow dress that the female lead Lise wears. It kept reminding me of a similar yellow dress that Emma Stone wore in La La Land. Logic and chronology both dictate that if there was any plagiarism of this detail, it was on the part of La La Land and not American in Paris. It was just my misfortune that I saw the two in the order that I did. Still, the coincidence of this dress also serves as metaphor when comparing these two works. They both borrowed from Gene Kelley, but in the case of La La Land this loan resulted in something both original and beautiful. In the case of An American in Paris the result is still beautiful, but not particularly original.