An American In Paris

Last night I had the pleasure of accompanying my lovely mum to the Dominion Theatre to see the wonderful ‘An American in Paris’. It was a great evening and I felt as though I had been transported back in time to spy on the love life of ballerina Lise Dassin (Leanne Cope). 

An American in Paris made it’s West-End debut at the Tottenham Court Road based theatre back in March and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it ever since… Especially after one of my best friends (A ballet dancer) told me it was one of her favourites after seeing it in New York a couple of years ago.

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An American in Paris made it’s West-End debut at the Tottenham Court Road based theatre back in March and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it ever since… Especially after one of my best friends (A ballet dancer) told me it was one of her favourites after seeing it in New York a couple of years ago. 

​​I did ballet for the majority of my childhood, before quitting for a couple of years and then starting again when I was 16 for a year or so. Watching this show made me realise how talented and dedicated these dancers really are…and to be able to sing and act too? It made me jealous.

Quickly and without giving too much away, the musical follows the same story as the 1951 film of the same name which starred Gene Kelly. A WW2 veteran named Jerry decides to stay in Paris, in order to become a famous painter, rather than returning back to America. Whilst at the train station he bumps into Lise, a young French dancer (they have an immediate connection but Lise quickly runs away). He then stumbles across a restaurant and finds a fellow American named Adam. He’s a musician who is currently composing music for a local ballet school. He is then also introduced to a young French man named Henri who has hopes to become a famous nightclub singer and to move to the USA.   The Three men soon become the ‘Three Muskateers’.


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Henri, Adam & Jerry – Photo credit: Love Theatre
​Adam takes Jerry to his work at the ballet school, which allows him to sketch the dancers. Then Lise walks in (Late) and their eyes meet again. She auditions for the lead role in the upcoming ballet show that the school is producing.
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Perfume shop scene – Photo Credit: An American in Paris Website
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Jerry & Lise – Photo Credit: Static Playbill
​Soon after this, the pair begin to fall for each other, although Jerry is still blissfully unaware that Lise is actually engaged to his friend Henri (MAJOR LOVE TRIANGLE). This leads to Lise having to decide between the two men.
 I went into the performance not knowing what to expect, I hadn’t watched the film and had absolutely no idea of what it was even about (Maybe about American people in Paris?). For some reason I thought it was something to do with LA LA Land as the visuals and posters are very similar… but no. I feel this was a good thing as it meant I had no expectations and could just watch and enjoy the show without any comparisons. 
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I’ll Build A Stairway to Paradise – Photo Credit: London Theatre
There were a couple of songs that I recognised which were ‘I got rhythm’ and ‘S’wonderful’. Yet, saying that, my favourite performance of the night had to be Henri’s ‘I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise’ which just seemed like more of a spectacle, with sparkly outfits and canes. It reminded me of the end scene of the Chicago film slightly. There’s also a really clever part where the stage turns into a stage. It confused me slightly at first but I thought it was so cool.
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Photo Credit: An American in Paris Website
​There wasn’t much in terms of a set on the stage, compared to other musicals I’ve seen where they have moveable and twisting buildings and platforms. This performance was very flat with minimal props and simple (but clever) backgrounds. Sometimes the stage felt a little empty but it also meant that all of the attention was on the dances and actors on the stage. Lighting was also key in the production to give the illusion of inside/outside and splitting up different rooms.
​My mum and I really enjoyed ‘An American in Paris’, even though our seats were apparently ‘Restricted View’ we could see everything perfectly (and saved money too!). The theatre was nowhere near full so we could’ve moved forward if we wanted but we didn’t really feel the need for this. It’s quite a well laid-out theatre and I feel you’d be able to see from any seat. If you enjoy dance and are partial to a Rom-com then this is the show for you!

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