Phil Willmott

An American in Paris is coming to London

An American In Paris The rumours were true!

Broadway’s Tony Award-winning new musical AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is coming to the West End, opening at the Dominion Theatre in March 2017

I think one of the reasons why I fell in love with it when I saw it in New York last year is that it's so fresh and so original in its concept and execution. It’s main stream Broadway fare but somehow the Gershwin estate have given the production team permission to retell the story but with a crunchy new script that doesn't shy away from the Nazi legacy in Paris and real heartbreak.

The gorgeous Gershwin numbers don't particularly advance the plot but at every point seem to express the joy, the melancholy and the sheer elation of a city and a generation blossoming into romance after the oppression of war.

The breathtaking set quotes the modern art of the period in an endless kaleidoscope of both broad and exquisite images that seem to dance through the air. Designer, our very own John Napier, uses the stage like a page of a sketch book. Often its most beautiful when it's virtually empty with just a blue streak of river and a little boat.

Other time he and director/choreographer (another brilliant Brit, Christopher Wheeldon) dance antique mirrors around, at other times there are flown pieces which create a vast Picasso painting before our eyes or beautiful chunks of Parisian architecture in pastel shades which the projection designer might then dip in a sunset.

The opening when vast billowing black and white Nazi banners give way to reveal a city bursting with spring sunshine is breathtaking.

Then of course amidst all this innovation you get delicious Gershwin songs in gorgeous new arrangements.

An American In Paris