Broadway this week welcomed a pair of lavishly produced revivals of 1950s musicals that were processed by MGM’s Arthur Freed unit into hugely popular movie musicals, both directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Leslie Caron: An American In Paris (six Oscars in 1951, including Best Picture), and Gigi (nine Oscars in 1958, including best picture).
As I say in my video review, An American In Paris – about the love affair of an expat American artist and the French ingenue he falls for – is more than just another film-to-Broadway adaptation. It’s staged and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, one of the busiest ballet makers in the world, marking his Broadway debut.
It also features a darkish revision of Alan Jay Lerner’s original book, a skimpy affair, by playwright Craig Lucas (Prelude To A Kiss). Best of all, it offers the brilliant designer Bob Crowley his biggest canvas ever. Not to mention that irresistible score by the brothers Gershwin.
Gigi is a more conventional production, but it’s built around another Broadway debut: In the Caron role of a young woman who resists the life of a courtesan she’s been groomed for, we have Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Spring Breakers). How does she fare? Watch my review, then see the show and let us know whether you agree.