An American in Paris is now playing its final 14 weeks at the Dominion Theatre. The last performance of this celebrated engagement will be on Saturday 6 January 2018.
The London production of An American in Paris has been filmed for future release in cinemas, featuring the original cast led by Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope. Further international engagements of the musical are planned and a major North American tour is currently playing.
An American in Paris premiered in 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it received 12 Tony® nominations and won 4 for Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Set Design and Best Lighting Design. The musical also won four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards including Best Musical, the Drama LeagueAward for Best Musical, three Fred and Adele Astaire Awards and two Theatre World Awards.
Jerry Mulligan is an American GI pursuing his dream to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war…
For those of us that keep an eye on theatre this isn’t a huge shock. Discounts all over the theatre ticket outlets and the fact that Bat Out of Hell hasn’t been discreet about the fact it is looking for a new home means that the end would be sooner than later.
An American in Paris has had a successful run on both Broadway and London but I had a lot of issues with it. I felt it was marketed as a big old show, it was far more subtle than that. Even the set was very basic, which looked odd in such a cavernous space. When I reviewed it for London Theatre Direct earlier this year it did not feel like the big glitzy West End production.This is no bad thing, except when you are paying West End prices in a West End theatre. I stand by that this would have been exceptional had it been staged in Sadlers Wells or the Peacock, smaller theatres focused on dance. An American in Paris doesn’t have the musical numbers, which you expect from Gershwin and it doesn’t have the story. The dance sequences had some beautiful moments but also a tendecy to go on. Robert Fairchild (who left the production earlier this year) and Leanne Cope were great finds and have a great musical theatre career ahead of them but I failed to care for the other characters, not helped by ropey accents and baffling storyline where our narrator makes out he has a chance with a character who barely notices him.
The audience reaction was interesting too. On the night I saw it a large group walked out because they found it “boring”- a musical theatre sin. Anecdotally the response from a few has been that they had a lovely time but wouldn’t go back. Musical theatre survives long runs due to repeat custom if audiences are telling friends “it was nice but I wouldn’t see it again” it won’t attract new audiences either.
Not everyone wants a flamboyant show but you want a show that has universal appeal. It was too much of a musical for ballet fans and too much of a ballet show for musical fans. An American in Paris was an interesting and successful venture but in a city with many foreign audiences and high expectations to meet high prices this was never going to run as long as some West End shows had.