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