At PVDlive, we’re highly engaged with the local music scene, its performers and venues, but our mission is to support and promote the wide variety of arts and culture in the Creative Capital. So, we jumped at the chance to speak with a lead cast of a Broadway Musical! ‘An American in Paris’, inspired by the 1951 Academy Award winning film, opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway in April 2015 and is at Providence Performing Arts Center this weekend (March 13-18).
Paving a new way for theater, the story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war, Wall Street Journal calls An American in Paris “A Masterpiece!” stating, “once you’ve seen it, you’ll find it hard to settle for less ever again.”
During our interview with Allison Walsh (Lise Dassin) and McGee Maddox (Jerry Mulligan), sound bites like “…and it was our 234th show” and “…I rehearsed for 6 weeks” spoke to the passion and dedication of this art and its performers.
Walsh has been a part of this production since its inception, trying out at the very first workshop, and Maddox is celebrating one year with the show. While this represents his first time acting and singing, Maddox has a background in ballet, and has worked with director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon several times in the past. Walsh and Maddox described Wheeldon’s direction as “seamless”; the entire cast works together to move fixtures and props as part of a dance sequence, so it’s not projections, a key factor of what makes this play and its composition different. “The play pulls from multiple dance worlds and disciplines; you have jazz, classical, ballet,” Walsh adds.
Fun fact: Walsh has ties to our cherished little Rhody! She recently married Christopher Ryan of Deer Tick last August, so of course she had a room full of musicians at opening night. “I had about 20 friends come, who are all musicians, and they asked afterward, ‘how do you do the same performance every night, doesn’t it get old?”
Walsh and Maddox both described how the audience’s energy changes based on geography, which keeps it new. “We were just in the midwest and their way of reacting is boisterous and energetic, whereas New Englanders are more reserved. Some of the dancers came to me during a performance and said, ‘Oh they’re very quiet, maybe they don’t like it and I said, ‘No, they love it; they are taking it all in,” McGee said, concluding that “this play takes all of your emotion, the story line demands that you give it your all every night. That keeps it new for me.”
Be sure to check out this incredible and magical performance in the city until March 18th! Click for tickets.
Interview by : Chrissy Stewart
Edited by: Sarah Goodrich