AN AMERICAN IN PARIS GLOWS WITH INGENUES (DELIGHTFUL DEANNA DOYLE AS LISE with JERRY (DEVOTED, LIGHT ON HIS FEET, WINNING BRANDON HAAGENSON), BEAUTIFUL BENEFACTORESSES, HAPPILY EVER AFTERS. S’ WONDERFUL!
All Photographs, courtesy, Westchester Broadway Theatre by John Vecchiola
WPCNR STAGE DOOR. Theatrical Review by John F. Bailey. October 15, 2019:
An American in Paris, the Westchester Broadway Theatre fall show charms the house!
From the plaintive Bryan Uhl trumpet solo that starts the show of WBT shows (its largest cast ever), wooing you to a Paree with his melancholy siren solo of the first notes of Rhapsody In Blue, (you’ll recognize it) you’re into a new beginning: three guys loose on the squares, deciding to make a new start in post-war Paree.
There’s the G.I. artist, Jerry Mulligan (winningly impressionable song and dance man Brandon Haagenson,right) with sketch pad, drawing the charms of the city; the Paris roue’ Henri Baurel (a highly competitive aristocrat nailed with snooty perfection by Jonathan Young,left), and pianoman composer Adam (played with NY savvy, pathos and Billy Joel toughness by Thomaso Antico (right)– a rollicking trio of hopefuls dance, sing, and fall in love with Paris. And, ladies you will love these leads.
The trio swings into I Got Rhythm and you swing with them to an 11-member orchestra that has its way with the Gershwins’ classics, never overplays.
The hardest working dance ensemble delivers the works, flying across the stage in contemporary dance, reckless lifts, sensitive ballet, clack-clip-slap-shuffle tap a lot of tap that will get you tapping while the songs have their way with your hearts
Baurel (Jonathan Logan) the roue’ is highly protective of the ingénue of ingénues, whom Baurel wants to marry–Deanna Doyle who stops traffic on the square and Mulligan sees her, meets her cute, (just like you’re supposed to). Naturally he has to draw her, and is smitten.
Doyle dances with divinity and stands out in the crowd, and just can’t make up her mind between the rich aristocrat and the kid artist with a dream. Grabs you by the strings of your heart! I tell you AAIP hits you in the heart. Love at first sight and all that great feeling. Mulligan brims with champagne feeling, in his Beginner’s Luck as he cavorts with Lise, who cautions him singing The Man I Love.
The three guys in Paris combine on S’ Wonderful a timeless Gershwins’ standard that speaks to the wonder more than I can say. You have to hear the whirl and spin and see the dancing and you get caught up in the headiness of new love.
But what’s new love without temptation?
That temptation comes when Jerry catches the eye of the elegant woman of interest Milo Davenport, beautiful gallery owner of sophistication. She sets her cap for him. She introduces Jerry around town and fancies him, creating frissons of conflicted passions, the seductive lady of means vs. the angel Lise who empowers his dreams.
Lauren Sprague plays the statuesque Milo with style, class and a j’ne sais quoi hard to resist charisma and dominates the stage especially on her invitation number, Shall We Dance.
The fast moving 1 hour first act leaves just in time, for the dance packed second act as the romantic triangles intrigue.
Adam (Thomaso Antico) the pianoman and narrator, and Lauren Spraugue’s Milo rue their outside-looking-in-at love situation showcasing their disappointment at the way their loves are going (Adam cannot get over Lise, whom he is writing a ballet for). (Milo is frustrated Mulligan fancies Lise). They put all this very human feeling into the bluesy But Not For Me.
The second Act takes the audience on a Stairway to Paradise with three blockbuster dance numbers in a row— I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise, An American in Paris by the Company with a showcase of tap, ballet, modern dance blending seamlessly by Director and Choreographed by Richard Stafford.
Just when it’s just about done and you’re thinking there’s no more you are treated to the best song in the show which sends everyone home ecstatic with their successes in love and thankful for their chances at love, Adam (Tommaso Antico) croons the classic They Can’t Take That Away From Me. His softshoe and silky smooth treatment is just right, and when Henry (Jonathan Baurel) and Jerry (Brandon Haagenson) join him, this fairy tale of love’s ability to sweep you away does it again.
It is Westchester’s Hot Ticket.
An American in Paris dances it up through November 24. Check out www.BroadwayTheatre.com and have your people call the box office at 914-592-2268. A great show and a relaxing dinner, the Gershwin classics, and an ingénue, three guys and a woman of interest and a happy ending.
You’re going to love it.