Theater Review: An American in Paris

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It's got rhythm, it's got music, it's got dancing ... who could ask for anything more?

TPAC’s Broadway Series presents:
An American in Paris (Oct. 31 – Nov. 5; All ages)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
615-782-4040 | tpac.org
Remaining show times: Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 & 8 p.m., Sun 1 & 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $33 – $78

If you’ve been yearning for a toe-tappin’, high-energy, out-of-this-world musical adventure, make your way to Jackson Hall this week. An American in Paris is a spectacular theatrical event you’ll want to experience. It’s a musical lover’s dream come true!

The musical backdrop is courtesy of George and Ira Gershwin, who penned some of the absolute bests of America’s beloved standards. You’ll enjoy 17 Gershwin numbers, including “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Fidgety Feet,” “The Man I Love,” “They Can’t Take That Away” and more. There’s phenomenal dancing (both ballet and tap), top-notch singing, dynamic acting, captivating scenic design, a fantastic story and a whole lot of pizazz. 

Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris is based on the 1951 movie of the same name. The stage version opened on Broadway in 2015 and took home four Tony Awards for Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design. It was nominated for Best Musical, but Fun Home won the trophy in that category.

Set in Paris, 1945, at the end of World War II, the musical celebrates love and art while the story arc of three dreamers — Jerry Mulligan (McGee Maddox), Adam Hochberg (Matthew Scott) and Henri Baurel (Ben Michael) — plays out through a common love interest, the mysterious Lise Dassin (Allison Walsh). 

An American in Paris demands much of its cast, and it exceeds expectations! Maddox is one of the most dynamic, multi-talents on the stage right now. He’s had principal roles in numerous ballets and trained with Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy prior to joining the National Ballet of Canada in 2009. Maddox lights up the stage with exuberant energy throughout every one of his dance numbers. He’s equally dazzling as a vocalist. Here’s hoping we get to see a lot more of him in the near future.

Likewise, Walsh brings her immense skills to the leading lady role. A former soloist with The Joffrey Ballet, Walsh has been involved in Paris since its first workshop; she was also in the Broadway run. She brings an effervescent grace to the stage with outstanding dance work and solid acting chops.

The cast members do an exemplary job of pulling you into their respective characters’ emotional journeys, and that goes a long way in bringing the audience into the heart of the story.

From start to finish, this flawless production of An American in Paris is delightful and exciting. It sincerely has everything that makes for an unforgettable theatrical experience the entire family can enjoy. Who could ask for anything more?

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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