Surflight’s ‘An American in Paris’ as Smooth as Gershwin’s Music



UNREQUITED: Milo Davenport (Sophia Swannell) guaranteed would like to vacation the mild fantastic with Jerry Mulligan (Hector Molina), but he would want to dance with another. (Pictures by Pat Trotter Photography)
Surflight Theatre’s recent production of “An American in Paris” is clean. As sleek as a baby’s butt, as just-Zambonied ice, as an unruffled cat’s fur, as smooth as – well, a Gershwin tune.
Director/choreographer Paula Hammons Sloan, a longtime Surflight preferred, has turned in maybe her ideal work with “An American in Paris.” It’s a musical influenced by the 1951 movie of the very same identify that starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in her movie debut, which gained six Academy Awards such as Most effective Photograph. The phase musical’s 2015-2016 Broadway run also gained quite a few honors, which includes Fred and Adele Astaire Awards nominations and wins. Does that give you an thought the show is dance hefty?
Like the movie, the musical is designed about the new music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin.
The demonstrate has some wonderful dancing scenes, particularly in its next act. One, “Fidgety Feet,” can reasonably be known as “a novelty variety.” An additional is faucet. The 3rd is the extended “Paris Ballet,” dependent about George’s 1928 jazz-affected orchestral piece titled, indeed, “An American in Paris.”
I have been reviewing Surflight shows for decades and hardly ever have noticed that significantly ballet carried out by a forged in the Seashore Haven landmark. I ought to confess I’m no ballet critic, but I was impressed.
The complete exhibit would seem like a large dance scene, thanks to Sloan’s guiding hand. Its set improvements are choreographed, much a lot more than the straightforward shifting of home furnishings and props. They move like a light nonetheless immediately going stream, with seemingly frosted mirrors amplifying the perception that an early-morning solar is glimmering on the River Seine.
Sloan’s manufacturing was helped by the professionalism of scenic designer Chris Strangfeld, lights designer Anthony Marinaro, audio designer Ian Wehrle and specifically costume designer Kaitlynn Farnham – a substantial “wow” to her.

When it arrives to professionalism, though, the major kudos go to the users of the show’s ensemble. Bridget Bailey, Emma Grace Bailey, Jake Bartley, Alyssa Barton, Rhagan Carter, Gina Gagliano, Jacob Lill, Jack Lynch, Alec Mittenthal, Gabriela Moncivais, Brennan Chase Parker and Filip Przybycien not only dance up a storm, but double as a hardworking phase crew, a veritable swarm of employee bees building nests just after nests.
All that said, Surflight’s “An American in Paris” is not perfect. That isn’t Sloan’s or the performers’ fault. The blame belongs to the show’s book, penned by Craig Lucas.
The clearly show is set in instant publish-war Paris. Two U.S. Military vets have resolved to remain there alternatively of returning house soon after succumbing to the city’s charm and centuries-very long name as an incubator for youthful artists of all sorts. Jerry Mulligan (Hector Molina) is a painter Adam Hochberg (Austin Jacobs) is a pianist and composer. When they meet up with, Adam immediately acknowledges Jerry as a starving artist-type and invites him to continue to be in his rooms, which his landlords, Monsieur and Madame Dutois (John Pickup and Elizabeth Trotter), let him occupy for no cost. “They stopped asking me for the hire, and if you had been a Jew, like me, they almost certainly would not charge you. … Yeah, Parisian guilt.”
Adam introduces Jerry to Henri Baurel (Noah Lyon), the son of a wealthy industrialist and his spouse (Mike Brennan and Alison Nusbaum), who several Parisians consider experienced collaborated with the Nazis. Nevertheless Jerry and Adam want to remain in Paris, Henri needs to transfer to the U.S. to operate his family’s enterprise affairs there. But, additional importantly, he wishes to turn into a nightclub performer, something his mom and dad definitely would not approve of. Henri is currently establishing his act in key with Adam as his accompanist.
Adam also tends to make some excess francs as an audition accompanist for a ballet corporation headed by Maestro Z (Pickup). And it is in this sort of an audition session that Jerry and Adam satisfy a talented youthful dancer, Lise Dassin (Kelsey Kaufman). Adam instantly falls for her Jerry experienced previously been moonstruck when seeing her in a group upon his arrival in the city.

Very little do they know Lise is Henri’s girlfriend. There’s nothing like a lady to interfere with male friendships.
Toss in another girl, Milo Davenport (Austin Jacobs), an American philanthropist who has eyes for Jerry. She’s backing Maestro Z’s period and demands he commission a piece starring Lise with Adam composing the ballet’s tunes and Jerry creating the show.
By the way, the Baurels had hidden the Jewish Lise absent from the Nazis. But even while Lucas performs some of the repercussions of the war into his e book, this is no “Cabaret” with the Nazis sooner or later getting centre phase. “An American in Paris” is mainly a enjoy tale with twists.
Who will acquire Lise’s heart? If Jerry rejects Milo romantically, will she still push for a hesitant Maestro to use him as his ballet’s designer? Will the general public find out the Baurels ended up heroes, not collaborators? Will the ballet be a success? A love tale with twists. Inconceivable twists that guide to unbelievable enjoys.
Hey, it’s Paris. It’s possible folks do drop in appreciate additional promptly below the city’s spell, but they do so way too promptly in “An American in Paris” to make them believable. It is a widespread challenge in films and phase reveals wherever matters have to produce in a limited time body.

The show’s other dilemma is the French figures naturally have to converse with French accents. French is just one of the most melodious languages, maybe the most melodious language, in the world. It may well also properly be the hardest accent that an actor can attempt since English text are not practically as melodious as their French counterparts – the words and phrases and the accent simply don’t blend.
On the other hand, even with those people unfortunate bumps, “An American in Paris” is however just one of the smoothest theatrical rides I have at any time taken at Surflight.
The exhibit runs via June 18. Tickets are out there at surflight.org, by cellphone at 609-492-9477 and at the box place of work, at Engleside and Beach front avenues in Beach front Haven.
— Rick Mellerup
rickmellerup@thesandpaper.net

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