Happy Mother’s Day to me!
As an early Mother’s Day gift, my daughter, Jennifer, took me to the Sunday matinée of “An American in Paris.” The venue was the Gammage at ASU in Tempe, AZ. The musical, inspired by the Academy Award winning movie from 1951 starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, recently closed at the Palace Theater on Broadway.
Before the curtain went up we didn’t know we were going to see a musical ballet—we thought it was just a musical. We didn’t care–we loved the fact that we were actually at a live Broadway musical set in Paris transported to the desert of Arizona.
The main male characters in the musical are two American ex-GI’s: a composer/rehearsal pianist and a painter, and a French singer, with the latter two competing for the affections of a French ballerina/store clerk, Lise. I was quick to notice that there was nary an author to be seen yet I imagine that Paris had its share of American writers in 1951. Possibly a character with the intelligence of an author wasn’t a good fit for a musical ballet.
The choreography was amazing especially the final ballet sequence (seventeen minutes long in the movie—I didn’t time it in the musical performance but it was long). I kept waiting for someone to speak. Without dialogue, I couldn’t figure out what was happening any more than I can decipher a fantasy novel. Were we just being entertained by an elegant ballet? I suppose this was where my imagination was supposed to kick in….
Afterward, I couldn’t resist reading the reviews by New York theater-goers who saw the musical on Broadway. To my surprise, most of them were either totally or partially negative. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought I was reading a review of one of my unfinished novels: main male characters were boring, flat, lacking in emotion (but this is a musical ballet—they could sing and they could dance!); not enough character development; confusing, hard to follow, and flat plot; no conflict until two-thirds of the way through; predictable ending.
Thank you, Jennifer and family, for a fantastic Mother’s Day gift!
Leaving Arizona: With our impending return home to New Hampshire, I am starting to feel the same as when the end of August approaches. That’s why I wiled away the afternoon yesterday in the pool instead of checking things off my To Do List. As the thermometer inches closer to one hundred and above, it’s time to face the gray skies and cool temperatures of New Hampshire. And the budding crab apple and lilac trees, the perennials peeking out of the ground, and the acres of green grass awaiting the awakening of the John Deere mower from hibernation.
Posted on April 26, 2017, in Arizona, blogging, Karen Whalen, Uncategorized, writing and tagged An American in Paris, ASU Gammage, Broadway, Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Mother's Day, Musical ballet, New Hampshire, Palace Theater, Paris France, Tempe Arizona. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
Okay, is that you in the pool out back of your daughters house????
Put one in at your house. We have plenty of hot days in NH.
We can like or dislike things that paid reviewers dislike or like in their reviews. No problem. I saw La La Land and found it boring and banal and yet it was nominated for 14 Academy Awards. Who was wrong? Who was right? I’ll never watch it again, and to me wanting to watch (or read) something more than once is a sign of greatness in some aspect of the work.
In years to come I’ll reread Jasper Fforde, J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. This year I hope to reread C.S. Lewis. I will never reread David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’, yet that got some rave reviews. Maybe I’ll reread his ‘Mr. Squishy’.
I’m glad you enjoyed American in Paris for what it was: a revival of a fun musical. And because it was a gift from your daughter.