An American in Paris, Westchester Broadway Theatre

Published: Monday, October 14, 2019 By: Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   

If you love musicals, put on your "dancing shoes" and head over to see the play, An American in Paris at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford, New York because it truly is "S'Wonderful." 

This lavish production pulls out all the stops with its talented cast of Brandon HaagensonDeanna DoyleErika AmatoTommaso AnticoLauren SpragueJonathan Young and Ian Knausser in the lead roles, with an outstanding ensemble to support them. The music, dancing, and singing will have you discretely tapping your feet in time with the music. An American in Paris runs until November 24, 2019.

Although Luxury Experience only recently "discovered" the Westchester Broadway Theatre when we attended their lavish production of An American in Paris on opening night, Thursday, October 10, 2019, the theatre celebrated its 45th anniversary in July 2019. Owners and Executive Producers Bob Funking and Bill Stutler founded the WBT in 1974, and since then the theatre has presented over 210 main stage productions. The playbills that line the walls attest to the wonderful history of the theatre.  

The musical, An American in Paris, was inspired by the Academy Award-winning 1951 MGM film, An American in Paris, directed by Vincente Minelli and starring Gene Kelly (as the artist Jerry Mulligan), Leslie Caron (as Lise Dassin), Oscar Levant (Adam Cook) Georges Guétary (Henri Baurel), and Nina Foch (Milo Roberts). Ira and George Gershwin crafted a host of memorable music for the film including the songs, I Got Rhythm, I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise, S'Wonderful, Shall We Dance, and so many more.  

As longtime fans of the film, An American in Paris, (we have watched the film countless times throughout the years), we looked forward to seeing the play version at WBT and we loved it! The play is set in Paris, France in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. Paris has recently been liberated, and American soldier Jerry Mulligan (Brandon Haagenson) is not quite ready to go home yet. As an artist, Paris excites his senses as does the lovely Lise Dassin (Deanna Doyle), a French shop girl and aspiring ballerina. Together with fellow American Adam Hochberg, a former soldier and pianist-composer (played by Tommaso Antico), and Parisian Henri Baurel (played by Jonathan Young), they form an unlikely but likable trio, all of whom have unknowingly fallen for the same girl. Rounding out the stellar cast is Erika Amato (as Madame BaurelHenri's formidable mother), Ian Knauer (Monsieur Baurel, Henri's father), and the wealthy Milo Davenport (played by Lauren Sprague), who has fallen in love with Jerry.  

The WBT's theatre-in-the-round set-up allowed the cast to fully utilize all of the access points to maximize the experience bringing the dancing as close to the audience as possible. Steve Loftus, the Set Designer deftly recreated the essence of Paris, and Keith Nielsen, the Costume Designer for the production, nailed the 1940s feel of post-war Paris with his sumptuous and elaborate costumes.

Director and Choreographer Richard Stafford did a wonderful job in capturing the essence of An American in Paris and bringing it to the WBT's stage. Bravo!    Until next time, keep enjoying and supporting the arts!