This weekend at the UT Bass Concert Hall, Lexus Broadway in Austin presents an American in Paris, one of the most glorious and gorgeous theatrical productions to come through the city of Austin in many years. This production features a cast of skilled dancers, gorgeous vocalist, and a beautiful live orchestra. This show is truly a love letter to the bygone days of Broadway extravaganzas and Silver Screen Musicals.
Every piece of this show is a perfectly crafted puzzle that fits together to make a masterpiece worthy of the Gershwin name. Featuring a score of all Gershwin music, an American in Paris is a love song letter to your ears. That is delivered by the extremely talented cast of singers, dancers, and actors most notably McGee Maddox who plays Jerry Mulligan and Allison Walsh who plays Lise Dassi. The story is about a young soldier from America who decides to spend a summer in the beautiful city of lights, Paris, where he meets the beautiful young Lise – dancer extraordinaire. These two have an ill-timed romance that is filled with gorgeous dance sequences and incredible costumes and classic Gershwin music.
The show is beautiful to watch unfold and change in a constant stream of motion between set pieces, dancers, and costumes. The costuming for this show is some of the best I have ever seen, it reminds me of the old Hollywood movies much like the one that inspired this musical. Bob Crowley, who designed the set and costumes outdid himself creating a spectacle filled with bright vibrant colors and glamorous Silhouettes which won him a Drama Desk and Tony Award for his designs. This show has a sort of hum of life to it that comes through in every action, including the way that the set moves and changes in front of the audience, there’s never a moment of darkness and it keeps the audience engaged as the story changes and moves through its peaks and valleys. I will say that while the music and set are beautiful it does have a certain pacing issue at times, because of the harmonious music and the simplicity of the melody at times it can lack excitement. But it makes up for that in spades the moment the entire ensemble is on stage dancing to incredible choreography which also won director and choreographer Christopher Weldon a Tony, an Outer Critics Circle, an Astaire Award, and a Drama Desk Award.
This show is running through Sunday, June 3 at the UT Bass Concert Hall and then will be moving on across the country. If you’re anywhere near a performance you should get yourself there as this is a show that you will remember for a very long time. For more information log on to texasperformingarts.org or BroadwayacrossAmerica.com