Parisian pageantry

Pope­joy Hall to host Tony Award-win­ning mu­si­cal ‘An Amer­i­can in Paris’

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY ADRIAN GOMEZ JOUR­NAL ARTS EDI­TOR

Matthew Scott and Allison Walsh needed a break to see with a new per­spec­tive.

The duo starred on Broad­way in the Tony Award­win­ning mu­si­cal “An Amer­i­can in Paris.”

It was a year ago that the mu­si­cal closed on Broad­way, yet the two are back for the trav­el­ing na­tional show.

“I didn’t an­tic­i­pate this at all,” Scott says in a re­cent phone in­ter­view. “There is a great op­por­tu­nity for an ac­tor to re­visit a role. When

I did the show on Broad­way, I was happy to have done it for that length of time. The fact that I’m back, I’m see­ing my char­ac­ter a lit­tle dif­fer­ently. The show is brand-new, with a whole new cast get­ting ready to travel the coun­try.”

“An Amer­i­can in Paris” is a ro­man­tic story about an Amer­i­can sol­dier, Jerry Mul­li­gan, a mys­te­ri­ous French girl named Lise Dassin and an in­domitable Euro­pean city — each yearn­ing for a new be­gin­ning in the af­ter­math of war. It is set in 1945.

It be­gins a seven-show run on Tues­day, Oct. 17, at Pope­joy Hall.

The mu­si­cal is in­spired by the 1951 Os­car-win­ning film of the same name and was adapted for the stage by Christo­pher Wheel­don.

“An Amer­i­can in Paris” opened at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on Dec. 10, 2014, for a lim­ited run be­fore clos­ing on Jan. 4, 2015.

It then moved in April 2015 to the Palace The­atre on Broad­way, where it ran un­til Oct. 9, 2016, with more than 600 per­for­mances.

The mu­si­cal is di­rected and chore­ographed by 2015 Tony Award-win­ner Wheel­don. The show fea­tures the mu­sic and lyrics of Ge­orge Gersh­win and Ira Gersh­win, and the book is by Craig Lu­cas.

The score in­cludes the songs

“I Got Rhythm,” “Liza,”

“’S Won­der­ful,” “But Not for Me,” “I’ll Build a Stair­way to Par­adise,” and or­ches­tral mu­sic in­clud­ing “Con­certo in F,” “Sec­ond Pre­lude,” “Sec­ond Rhap­sody/Cuban Over­ture” and “An Amer­i­can in Paris.”

Walsh reprises her Lise Dassin. Walsh has worked her way up the ranks in the mu­si­cal.

On Broad­way, she was part of the

en­sem­ble and was the al­ter­nate for Lise Dassin.

“I started work­ing on the pre­pro­duc­tion for the very first work­shop,” she says. “It’s re­ally fun to get back in the role. The role didn’t ever leave me. I’m back and more con­fi­dent. I have all the knowl­edge of what it takes to lead a na­tional tour. And this time around, it’s my only fo­cus.”

Walsh says her char­ac­ter goes through a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion.

“To me, Lise is a mys­te­ri­ous French bal­le­rina,” she says. “She’s lived in seclu­sion. Grow­ing up and go­ing from a girl to a wo­man dur­ing the war, she’s very naive and shel­tered. Yet she’s re­silient. Her char­ac­ter doesn’t have a ton of lines in the first act. Re­ally, she be­comes her freest self when she’s danc­ing with Jerry.”

Mean­while, Scott reprises his role as Adam Hochberg.

Hochberg is a vet­eran and pi­anist whose war in­juries have left him with a per­ma­nent limp.

“Adam’s strug­gle through­out the show is to cre­ate beauty out of

the chaos,” Scott says. “He wants to bring peo­ple some joy. He re­ally strug­gles with that. He ac­tu­ally feels that the mu­sic and the work of art has to re­flect the ug­li­ness. He wants to por­tray the world ac­cu­rately through his mu­sic.”

Scott is ex­cited to reprise the role and go on the na­tional tour.

He’s also get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to travel with his wife, who is part of the en­sem­ble.

“The way this all came about is kind of for­tu­itous,” he says. “It was a good sign for me. We are go­ing to get to see a bit of the coun­try. The mu­si­cal’s mes­sage will be in­ter­est­ing to de­liver from state to state.”

Matthew Scott The tour­ing com­pany of “An Amer­i­can in Paris” will per­form in Al­bu­querque at Pope­joy Hall. “An Amer­i­can in Paris” picked up four Tony Awards dur­ing its run on Broad­way.

COURTESY OF MATTHEW MUR­PHY The en­sem­ble cast of “An Amer­i­can in Paris” fea­tures chore­og­ra­phy by Tony win­ner Christo­pher Wheel­don. Allison Walsh

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