EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

Ro­mance is in the air, says Sarah Riches, as the hit Broad­way mu­si­cal An Amer­i­can in Paris comes to Lon­don

Where London - - Contents -

An Amer­i­can in Paris, which has songs by the Gersh­win broth­ers, ar­rives straight from Broad­way with rave re­views – catch it at the Do­min­ion The­atre.

Es­cape to the city of ro­mance for a night with AnAmer­i­can­inParis, a new mu­si­cal opening at the Do­min­ion The­atre (from

4 Mar). It was orig­i­nally a jazz num­ber writ­ten in 1928 by Amer­i­can com­poser Ge­orge

Gersh­win, in­spired by his time spent in Paris. The tune spawned an Os­car-win­ning film of the same name in 1951, which starred Gene Kelly, as well as a Broad­way mu­si­cal which in 2015 won a host of awards, in­clud­ing four Tony Awards.

Leanne Cope, who was for­merly with The Royal Bal­let, takes the fe­male lead along­side Robert Fairchild, a prin­ci­pal dancer with the New York City Bal­let. Both made their mu­si­cal the­atre de­buts with the show in Paris at its world pre­miere, be­fore star­ring in New York. Now they’re set to make their West End de­buts to­gether.

Cope says: ‘Per­form­ing the world pre­miere of An Amer­i­can in Paris – in Paris – was a dream come true as far as be­ing in the city where our show is set; just walk­ing the streets was re­search. Per­form­ing on Broad­way came with huge ex­pec­ta­tions and luck­ily ev­ery ex­pec­ta­tion was ful­filled, from the opening night to the Tony Awards.’

Fairchild plays Jerry, an Amer­i­can World War II vet­eran who falls for Lise (Cope) af­ter meet­ing her in a bar in 1940s Paris. But Jerry is just a painter and Lise, who craves se­cu­rity, agrees to marry his friend Henri and move to the States with him. Can Jerry change her mind be­fore it’s too late?

Cope adds: ‘My favourite scene has to be the cabaret scene in act two, where Henri starts singing very ner­vously in a small club in Mont­martre, and we see into his imag­i­na­tion. The stage trans­forms into a sparkling vi­sion of New York, with the arches of the Chrysler

Build­ing, men in top hats and show­girls, with Henri giv­ing the per­for­mance of a life­time.’ But if Cope was Lise, would she choose Henri for his se­cu­rity or Jerry for his charm? ‘Jerry,’ she says, ‘as they have a con­nec­tion that peo­ple can only dream of find­ing.’ Di­rected and chore­ographed by Christopher Wheel­don – artis­tic as­so­ciate of The Royal Bal­let – the mu­si­cal fea­tures some of Gersh­win’s most iconic songs, in­clud­ing I Got Rhythm, ‘ S Won­der­ful and They Can’t Take That Away from Me. Ex­pect a ro­man­tic bal­let and a masked ball scene as well as fast foot­work and high kicks dur­ing the jazzy num­bers. The team be­hind War Horse and the Lon­don 2012 Olympics Opening Cer­e­mony, 59 Pro­duc­tions, leads the way with pro­jec­tions in­clud­ing a back­drop of the Eif­fel Tower – and it doesn’t get much more ro­man­tic than that. For full list­ing, turn to p. 40

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