That Was Then: An American in Paris in Nashville

Playing this week at TPAC’s Jackson Hall is the next in the Broadway series, An American In Paris. The musical based on the classic movie is in town until Sunday. Like nearly every other show this season, this is one of those that you can’t miss.

I am one of those millennials that has never seen the original 1951 Gene Kelly version, but honestly it doesn’t matter. The show stands fine on its own merit. The story is based in post WWII Paris as an American intentionally misses his trip back to America and becomes a painter in the City of Light. He falls in love with a beautiful dancer and makes friends with a piano player, an heir, and a philanthropist. Through song and dance, the cast leads you into beautiful scenes of color and light weaving a tale of love, fraternity, and duty.

This show has welded together the best parts of ballet and musical theatre. From the stage to the triple threat cast, the show has very little wrong with it. The story flows rather nicely and it all leads up to an exquisite ballet performance featuring the two leads played by McGee Maddox and Allison Walsh. McGee, who was the principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada (like seriously?!?!) and Walsh, who was part of the original Broadway cast are absolutely dazzling. By far, the strongest talent we’ve seen so far this year in TPAC’s Broadway series. The rest of the cast is just as wonderful, particularly Kirsten Scott who plays the philanthropist Milo Davenport. By the end of the show, you’ll be wanting to brunch with her. She is fabulous with three snaps.

As far as criticism goes, the “Fidgety Feet” song makes no sense for its placement in the show. Seriously, with all the works of the Gershwin’s and that’s the song you put there? It’s awkward, but the cast makes it acceptable due to their immense talent. There is very little wrong with this play though. I thought it would be incredibly boring and hard to follow. It was the one show I wasn’t sure about this season, but I think it’s going to end up being one of my absolute favorites. If you love nostalgia, love stories, Paris, jazz, or ballet, you’ll adore this.

For the bigger picture of all things TPAC, Kathleen O’Bryan’s and her staff are really getting serious. The quality of the last few seasons just keeps on going. Aspirations have been so incredibly high, you can really tell that they are aiming for something epic to happen. Hamiltonwill either be here late this season or sometime next (I’m betting on next spring), but that’s not what I’m talking about. They have stepped up their game so much as a facility, something is in the air. They’re priming themselves for a massive step. Whatever it is, I’ll tell you all about it as soon as I know.

Go see An American in Paris at TPAC this week. Tickets are available online.






Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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