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Broadway to Brisbane: An American in Paris to land in Queensland

Culture

A love story set in post-war Paris, the Australian premiere of Tony-award winning musical An American in Paris will begin in Brisbane this January, blending George Gershwin’s original score with world class ballet.

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Based on the 1951 film starring Gene Kelly, An American in Paris is a post-war love story which follows US soldier Jerry Mulligan trying to make it as a painter in Paris after the war.

An American in Paris (1951) original film poster

Set to the acclaimed score by the Gershwin brothers, the musical follows Mulligan as his plans are thwarted upon meeting Lise Dassin, an aspiring ballerina.

The Australian premiere will see the return of the leading actors from Paris and Broadway, Robbie Fairchild and Leanne Cope, alongside acclaimed Australian dancers from The Australian Ballet.

“Auditioning for An American in Paris has been a revelation of the wealth of top-level talent in Australia and I feel blessed with the choices we have been able to make in casting the show – never an easy task,” director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon said.

“This is a truly wonderful group of performers to bring the production to the stage,” he said.

“To be able to bring Robbie Fairchild and Leanne Cope back to reprise their roles from Paris, Broadway and the West End alongside the superb Australian Ballet duo of Dimity Azoury and Cameron Holmes is the absolute icing on this beautiful cake.”

The production is acclaimed for its blend of musical theatre and classical ballet choreography, with the Australian leg produced in collaboration with The Australian Ballet.

Alternating in the lead roles are leading Australian ballet dancers, Dimity Azoury and Cameron Holmes.

“After 14 years with The Australian Ballet, I’m excited to step away for a time and into the musical theatre world with this acclaimed production – what an exciting, enriching opportunity,” said Dimity Azoury.

“I’m so thrilled to be performing in An American in Paris – it combines my two passions of ballet and theatre. The role of Jerry is so unique and challenging and I can’t wait to make my debut,” said Holmes.

Haydn Oakley in An American In Paris by George and Ira Gershwin (Image: Tristram Kenton)

The musical adaptation debuted in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet in 2014 before travelling through London and New York, going on to win four Tony awards.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said Queensland audiences would be the first in Australia to experience the show that was an impeccable blend of musical theatre and ballet.

“The Gershwin brothers’ music provides a wonderful foundation from which to explore and evoke all the elegance, madness and energy of post-war Paris,” he said.

“Christopher Wheeldon and Craig Lucas have taken the vitality and beauty of a screen classic and recrafted it for a new century.

“I have no doubt audiences will love it and I look forward to welcoming our friends from The Australian Ballet back to QPAC.”

An American in Paris opens at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre on 8 January and runs until 30 January.

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