An American in Paris

Music & Lyrics by: George and Ira Gershwin

Book By: Craig Lucas

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Iíd heard much hype about the musical An American in Paris.  It won quite a few Tony Awards and I wondered just what the Broadway musical was about.  I was soon to find out, receiving a copy of the original cast recording made in April and scheduled to be released by Masterworks Broadway in June 2015.

            Based on the Academy Award winning 1951 film, An American in Paris centers around World War II Army Veteran Jerry Mulligan (Robert Fairchild) who, at the completion of the war, chooses Paris as a place to reinvent himself as a painter.  But things get complicated when he meets Lise (Leanne Cope) and discovers that his friends are also fond of her.  Now he must compete with a Jewish American composer (Brandon Uranowitz) and a Parisian aristocrat (Max von Essen) for the love of this Parisian shop girl.  

            With music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, the Original Cast Recording of An American in Paris features quite a few songs musical enthusiasts might recognize, such as I Got Rhythm, ĎS Wonderful, Iíve Got Beginners Luck and They Canít Take That Away from Me.  Fans of the Broadway musical will want to get their hands on the album just so they can relive the show, but those of us who have never seen it may find the album a bit lacking.

            Itís not that the music isnít great with its jazzy orchestral score touched with a hint of Paris.  Itís not that the many of the songs are those we have heard before and find fun.  The fact of the matter is, that without witnessing the choreography created for the musical by Christopher Wheeldon, much that makes An American in Paris worthy of Tony Awards is lost on the listener.  This makes the album just an okay listen rather than something I would be dying to get my hands on. 

            Listening to this soundtrack tells me that in order to understand the hype An American in Paris has received, one must partake in the whole audio and visual experience and not just the original cast recording.


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