An American in Paris | Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge McGee Maddox and Sara Esty in An American in Paris

McGee Maddox and Sara Esty in An American in Paris

Matthew Murphy

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 13 2017
Price: $24-$181
By all rights An American in Paris should be an exercise in nostalgia. Based on the 1951 movie musical starring Gene Kelly and featuring such chestnutty Gershwin classics as "I Got Rhythm," it tells the tale of Jerry Mulligan, an ex-GI who falls in love while trying to make it as an artist in the City of Light. Thanks to playwright Craig Lucas and director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, however, the show doesn't depend on schmaltz for its richness. Lucas's book excavates each character's World War II trauma; Wheeldon's dances isolate and amplify Kelly's balletic impulse. The result is at once dark and beautiful. Though this Equity touring show is very fine in most ways, it's not as satisfying as it might be: McGee Maddox is a marvelous dancer, but his Mulligan comes across as callow—somehow untouched by the wartime experiences he describes. (Ryan Steele plays the role at certain performances.) —Tony Adler



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