There are always lots of shows that I see and think, “I can’t wait to see this again!” But with the sheer number of options out there, limited time, and of course, the money of it all, I rarely go back to see a Broadway show a second time. I made an exception last night and went to see the dreamboat that Robert Fairchild is in An American in Paris before he departs tomorrow, and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I saw the show last year during previews in Row W of the orchestra, which left a lot to be desired. The show was great, and while I got the full scope of the stage and saw all the projections and set pieces clearly, I missed being able to see the actors’ expressions. So learning that Fairchild was leaving, and the overwhelming feeling that I needed to see the show with better seats prompted a last-minute ticket buy. I sat in Row AA of the Front Mezzanine, and was right smack in the middle, with a perfect view of the stage and even into the pit! The show did not disappoint, and ‘s wonderful seeing everyone’s faces having the best time on the Palace’s cavernous stage.
An American in Paris has aged gracefully and was even better the second time around! Certain numbers have changed a bit, but the show was so amazing. I’m so happy that such a dance-heavy show has found success on Broadway. After a brief expository introduction from Brandon Uranowitz’s Adam, the show brings you right into the world of ballet, with a gorgeous dance showing the highs and lows of France after World War II without any dialogue. The movement is so brilliant and it’s absolutely breathtaking. Even the simplicity of dancers carrying chairs onto the stage becomes a beautiful visual. The way that director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon incorporated dancing with the props and set pieces is so innovative and great.
The only problem with a dance-heavy show is that the cast album can’t quite capture the magic of the show. If only it came with videos of the dance numbers! If the show was filmed (legally, of course), I would spend my days watching, “I’ve Got Beginner’s Luck,” “Fidgety Feet,” and of course, “An American in Paris.” Fairchild’s spins and turns are revelations, and to see him use up the entire stage with his leaps (forgive my lack of ballet terminology) is nothing less than sensational. Of course, Leanne Cope, who plays Lise, is a beautiful dancer as well and matches Fairchild every step of the way. The rest of the cast is sensational and they were worthy of all their Tony nominations (I thought Max von Essen would win the Tony for Best Featured Actor, and I was sadly wrong). To shake up the casting (and add some much needed diversity to a show that stays true to its historic roots) let’s add So You Think You Can Dance’s Alex Wong and Jim Nowakowski to the cast one day!
I’m so glad that An American in Paris is still running after a year, and representing the world of dance on Broadway. I love the old-school classic musicals, and though An American in Paris is only a year old, it has the feel of the classics, with a big orchestra playing the lush Gershwin score. The first show I ever played in as a cellist was Rodgers and Hart’s On Your Toes, another dance-happy show, so An American in Paris was right up my alley. This is a score that I would love to play and now the cast album will be playing on a loop for the foreseeable future.
While Robert Fairchild only has two performances left (run and see him if you haven’t already!), An American in Paris is the kind of show that is so great that it works despite who’s in the cast. Perhaps another trip to Paris is in my future!