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Musical
Production Châtelet

An American in Paris

The success of Rhapsody in Blue in 1924 allowed George Gershwin to travel to Europe and to meet a number of composers that he admired during a stay in Paris. Stravinsky, Ravel, Poulenc, Milhaud gave the American musician their recognition and encouragement. An American in Paris, composed in 1928, is a symphonic poem of about twenty minutes hailed by the critic Isaac Goldberg as being an “American Afternoon of a Faun”.

In 1950, the Hollywood producer Arthur Freed had the idea to make a film based on An American in Paris. As he would later do with Singin' in the Rain, he envisioned a set of existing songs by George and Ira Gershwin on wich a story could be created. As concieved by choreographer and star Gene Kelly, director Vincente Minnelli and book writer Alan J. Lerner, the story focused on an American GI, Jerry, a painter in Montmartre who, overflowing with joy of life, meets Lise, a young saleswoman. Lise, however, is loved by Henri, a singer of middle-of-the-road popular songs. The feelings (love, disappointment, enjoyment and the blues) culminate in a ballet where the couple reunites. This dance sequence became one of the most famous in the history of the Hollywood musical and the film went on to win six Oscars. Gene Kelly was given an honorary Oscar "in appreciation for his extreme versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film".

It would be nearly 65 years before a stage version of the musical would find its way to the stage. This new production, inspired by the film but not a re-production, is coming to life under the creative leadership of director / choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and producers Jean-Luc Choplin, Van Kaplan and Stuart Oken.

World premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet November 22, 2014 - January 4, 2015

Broadway Premiere at the Palace Theater March 13, 2015 anamericaninparisonbroadway.com

In English, with French subtitles, 2h50 with intermission

©Sylvain Gripoix

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Starring role

  • Christopher Wheeldon

    Christopher Wheeldon joined New York City Ballet in 1993 and was promoted to Soloist in 1998. He...

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Cast

More information

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.