Friday, December 12, 2014

An American in Paris

We had been looking forward to seeing "An American in Paris" at the Théâtre du Châtelet all semester and the performance did not disappoint.  Last month's blog post explains the unique production history of the show, which has had a triumphant run in Paris and will open on Broadway in March.  For us, it was very special to see this exploration of Franco-American relationships in one of Paris' most opulent theaters.  In contrast to the Oscar-winning film, which is set in 1949, the musical begins in 1944 with the liberation of Paris.  We were able to put to good use our review of the life and work of George Gershwin, including his years in Paris, as well as our studies of American, Jewish, and French experiences in World War II in order to understand a number of characters in this version of "An American in Paris."  The script highlighted Franco-American tensions in the wake of the French defeat and collaboration as well as the dynamics of French resistance and Jewish survival.  It also showcased the potential for Franco-American love and, not least, beautiful music and dance sequences.

The show has been heavily advertised in Paris and is reportedly now sold out.

Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, attended and met the cast after a recent performance, where she saluted the collaboration between Paris and New York and with her friend, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York.  She recommended everyone see the show on Broadway!

The Théâtre du Châtelet was fully illuminated as we approached.

One can tell from these pictures just how high up our seats were!

Here we are, patiently awaiting the beginning of the show.

The professors attended as well.

French professors Hélène Santos and Claudia Fontu with Maria Mitchell

Seeing "An American in Paris" in Paris was a privilege for which we thank Claudia Fontu and Franklin & Marshall College.  We would recommend it to anyone considering taking in a Broadway show next spring!

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