By Adam Hetrick
17 Oct 2013
Featuring a book by Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Lucas (The Light in the Piazza, Prelude To A Kiss), the musical features a score by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and is based on the Academy Award-winning 1951 film that starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.
Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza) is the creative consultant on the musical, which will present the story, based on the 1928 George Gershwin composition, in a new way. An American In Paris will premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in December 2014 with an American cast of 26, with a targeted spring 2015 Broadway premiere.
In recent years the Théâtre du Châtelet has presented such musicals as A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George and The Sound of Music. An American In Paris marks the first musical production to premiere at the Paris theatre prior to a Broadway bow. It will also mark the Broadway directorial debut of Wheeldon, who previously choreographed the 2002 musical Sweet Smell of Success.
Songs featured include "I Got Rhythm," "S'Wonderful," "But Not For Me," "Stairway to Paradise," "Our Love Is Here To Stay," "They Can't Take That Away" and orchestral music including "Concerto in F," "2nd Prelude," "2nd Rhapsody" and "An American In Paris."
An American In Paris is produced by the Pittsburgh CLO (Van Kaplan) and Théâtre du Châtelet (Jean-Luc Choplin) by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical (Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions).
Here's how the stage production is billed: "Eager to begin his life anew after the brutality of combat, World War II Army veteran Jerry Mulligan chooses newly-liberated Paris as the place to make a name for himself as a painter. With the assistance of fellow ex-pat Milo Davenport, a wealthy American with a past she wishes to forget, Jerry's life becomes complicated when he meets Lise, a young Parisian shop girl with her own secret. Soon it becomes clear that Jerry's friends—Adam, a Jewish American composer, and Henri, a Parisian aristocrat—also vie for Lise's love. This romantic tangle can only be untied through the miracle of dance set to some of the greatest music and lyrics ever written. A classic American film about young souls in Paris has been reimagined for the Broadway stage of the 21st century."
"We're incredibly fortunate to present a new adaptation of one of the most iconic movie musicals of all time," said producers Van Kaplan, Jean-Luc Choplin and Stuart Oken in a statement. "Our creative team, led by Christopher Wheeldon, has taken a fresh approach to a story audiences have enjoyed for generations about life in post-war Paris and come up with something we believe will have surprising depth and resonance. This material also provides an ideal opportunity for US and Paris based producers to share development and production of a show with a unique history and meaning to both countries."