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Award-winning musical begins China tour in Beijing

By Chen Nan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-07-04 15:28
A scene from  An American in Paris. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Tony Award-winning Broadway musical An American in Paris made its debut in Beijing on July 2 and runs for a week before it heads to other Chinese cities, including Shenyang in Liaoning province and Zhengzhou in Henan province.

Based on the 1951 Academy Award-winning film of the same title and adapted for the stage by British contemporary ballet director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, the musical opened on Broadway in April 2015 and became a hit worldwide.

The music is based on jazz-influenced symphonic tone poem written by American composer George Gershwin in 1928. And it tells the story of a complicated romance between a French ballerina Lise, played by British ballet dancer Leanne Cope, and an American expatriate painter Jerry, played by American dancer and actor Ryan Steele.

Speaking about the music, the show's music director Jesse Warkentin, says: "Gershwin's music is full of pictures, romantic and sensory. And it takes the audience back to the city in 1945, at the end of World War II."

Sean Kelly, resident director of the musical, in Beijing, who spent two decades as principal dancer with Houston Ballet, had taught at the Beijing Dance Academy for a year in the early 1990s.

"Compared with the movie, the musical is more dramatic. And we worked hard on the casting to make the dance dynamics come alive onstage," Kelly says. "Chinese audiences enjoy musicals. But what excites me more is that they like discussing the stories and characters with us after the shows."

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