Sara Esty (left) and Emily Ferranti in "An American in Paris." Photo by Matthew Murphy
Like the film that inspired it, An American in Paris the musical is a spectacle of balletic dance. Period. Its love quadrangle is far less interesting than the often-stunning choreography (by Christopher Wheeldon, who also directed) set to the music of George and Ira Gershwin. The touring production of An American in Paris opened Tuesday night at the Civic Theatre, presented by Broadway San Diego. It’s a lengthy but lush affair that will most enchant lovers of dance (and maybe lovers of Paris, which is sincerely evoked in both the production’s inventive set pieces and color-changing screen projections).
Most lovable of all is Sara Esty as the fledgling ballerina Lise, who, if you don’t know the story already, captivates the attention of an artist (McGee Maddox) and a pianist (Stephen Brower) while at the same time being promised in marriage to a Frenchman (Nick Spangler). The petite, graceful and supremely athletic Esty is a joy to watch in all of this show’s ballet sequences, and especially in the marathon piece that precedes the story’s inevitable denouement.
An American in Paris continues through Sunday, Sept. 10.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.