‘Swonderful, S’marvelous: Review of ‘An American In Paris’ at Sierra Cinemas | TheUnion.com

‘Swonderful, S’marvelous: Review of ‘An American In Paris’ at Sierra Cinemas

Sandra Rockman
Special to Prospector
"An American in Paris--The Musical" is a story of an American ex-GI who falls in love with a ballerina.


WHO: Sierra Cinemas presents

WHAT: “An American in Paris — The Musical”

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26

WHERE: Sierra Cinemas, E. Main Street Grass Valley

TICKETS: $18 Adults, $15 Seniors, Children 12 and under & students with ID; Available online at www.sierratheaters.com or at the Sierra Cinemas Box Office

INFO: Visit www.sierratheaters.com, or call 530-477-9000 for more information

“An American in Paris,” a musical play inspired by the 1951 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, will be shown at Sierra Cinemas at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

This adaptation is one of the many wonderful offerings of Broadway musicals, National Theatre of London plays, Metropolitan Operas and a variety of world-wide ballet productions by our local friends at Sierra Cinemas.

This sublime production was adapted for the stage, directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, a former soloist with the New York City Ballet.

George and Ira Gershwin’s music and lyrics will be familiar to most of us with such classics as “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You,” “But Not for Me,” and “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” among many others. Craig Lucas wrote the script.

Musical film stars Robert Fairchild (Jerry) and Leanne Cope (Lise), lead a company of more than 50 performers in song, dance, story and action.

Jerry is an American ex-GI who decides to stay in post-war Paris to become a painter and falls for the charms of Lise, a ballerina. He meets Adam, (David Seadon-Young), another former U.S. soldier ex-pat, who is working to compose a ballet and make his name.

Henri (Haydn Oakley) is a Frenchman who wants to be a showman. Let’s just say that all three men are in love with Lise. Add to this a rich American heiress (Zoe Rainey) who falls for Jerry and the plot thickens from there.

The opening number, which in its way, shows us the backstory of France after the occupation of the Nazis and the liberation of Paris, was done completely in dance and was brilliant. And then, it just gets better from there with outstanding performances, poignant moments, memorable tunes, beautiful costumes and breath-taking sets.

The set changes in this production aren’t so much as “blocked,” as we describe movement and scenery shifts on stage, as they are seamlessly danced.

Speaking of dancing, many recent productions of older musicals feature updated, often mis-matched dance styles that have nothing to do with the period of the story, hoping to appeal to a younger audience. In this way, this “An American in Paris” shines with Wheeldon’s classic choreography.

The romantic beauty of each number is an integral part of the whole, with the fluidity and grace of the balletic form. And one can see this even when the wild and jazzy numbers are the focus. Ah, the dancing!

Will there be a happy ending to Jerry and Lise’s story?

Reservations for Thursday evening are already going quickly. And for matinee-lovers, you’ll have one more chance at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26.

For reservations and more info visit http://www.sierratheaters.com, or call 530-477-9000.

Sandra Rockman is a local theatre director, actor, teacher. Her Fall 2018 Improvisation and Acting classes begin later this month. For information, email sandrarockman@outlook.com.

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