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“An American in Paris” Dazzles Omaha Audience

New musical provides an unexpectedly entertaining experience

The+musical+begins+with+a+single+piano+on+stage.+
The musical begins with a single piano on stage.

The musical begins with a single piano on stage.

Photo by Alaina Anderson

Photo by Alaina Anderson

The musical begins with a single piano on stage.

Alaina Anderson, Op/Ed Editor

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As the lights dim, a single piano decorates the stage, waiting for its musician. Viewers watch as the cast brings the piano to life with an opening of difficult choreography and expressive acting. This begins the new musical “An American in Paris”, which provides innovation and a series of surprises.

The musical is currently on tour and was performed at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Omaha for a span of five days. The Orpheum features a variety of performances including plays, ballets and Broadway musicals throughout the year.

“An American in Paris” is based on the 1951 dramatic film. It is set in Paris following the conclusion of World War II. After the war, an American soldier and aspiring artist, named Jerry, makes the decision to remain in Paris, rather than returning home. The musical follows Jerry, played by McGee Maddox, as he and his two friends, an unaccomplished composer and a wannabe jazz performer, fall in love with the same principal ballerina.

The innovative set enhances the overall performance. Rather than containing traditional panels of scenery, “An American in Paris” uses a series of projections and screens to create an artistic atmosphere. As scenes transition to different locations, lines are drawn by projectors to appear as though each scene is hand sketched.

While the scenery proves to be innovative, long periods of dancing make the performance feel more like a ballet than a musical. “An American in Paris” features impressive choreography and skilled ballet dancers, but it contains multiple long periods of strictly ballet. These periods feel drawn out and repetitive, which makes it easy to lose interest.

Scattered among the choreography, little moments of comedy add a lightness to the dramatic romance. Throughout the three friends’ struggle for the ballerina’s love, amiable banter leaves the audience laughing at the clever humor that seems to go unrecognized by the other cast members.

The comedy is sometimes easily missed by the audience due to the thick accents of some of the leads. While the usage of a French accent creates a more realistic setting and portrayal, it is hard to understand some of the dialogue, leading to confusion for viewers.

The thickness of accents is made negligible by the overall plot. While the outcome feels a bit predictable, the plot contains depth and unpredictability as characters develop and face new conflicts.

Overall, “An American in Paris” is a fresh and innovative musical and a must see for any fan of the theatre.

 

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Alaina Anderson - Op/Ed Editor

Alaina Anderson became a member of The Flightline in January of 2017. She is a sophomore this year and is involved in softball. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling and visiting obscure places. You can email her at [email protected]

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