From Greek wedding to love in Paris
Parlez vous français? Well, no need to speak French as the musical is entirely in English. When I say musical I partly mean ballet as the show has lengthy dance performances with no vocal accompaniment. I love ballet, so for me it was 2 in 1!
Dominion is run by the Nederlander Organisation, which also operates Aldwych and Adelphi theatres in London, 9 theatres on Broadway and 15 more across North America. The Nederlander is a family owned company founded by David T. Nederlander in 1912 in Detroit and today is led by his grandson James L. Nederlander. The company is one of largest entertainment property manager in America and has over 100 Broadway and touring productions to its credit.
Dominion Theatre opened in October 1929 and hosted live performances, but was soon converted to show the movies. In 1931, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights premiered in the theatre with Charlie Chaplin himself attending the screening. The theatre was closed for a short period of time during the 1940 air raids. Legendary Judy Garland’s show was on run in 1957. However, the Dominion remained first and foremost a successful cinema hosting European premieres of Cleopatra, The Sound of Music, Star Wars and many others. Dominion began to return to its original function of a musical theatre venue in the 1980s. The theatre was bought by the Nederlander in 1992 producing since multiple award winning musicals.
The story evolves in post-war Paris in 1945. An American soldier, Jerry Mulligan deliberately misses his train back home as he wants to become a painter in Paris. In a cafe/lodging house he meets a fellow veteran American and a pianist, Adam Hochberg and they become friends. Adam is putting an act together with Henri Baurel, the son of wealthy French industrialists who dreams of becoming a singer, but keeps it as a secret from his family fearing they will not approve his choice. Adam is accompanying a ballet auditions and he takes Jerry to sketch the ballerinas. The auditions are held by Madame Baurel (Henri’s mother) who is a patron of the house, ballet director and Milo Davenport, a rich American philanthropist invited by Madame Baurel as a potential donor. One girl arrives late at the auditions and the ballet director refuses to see her, but Adam encourages her to dance in the back. Jerry recognises the girl because he saw her in the streets and was struck by her beauty. The girl enchants everyone by her dancing skills and at the end introduces herself as Lise Dassin. Milo Davenport agrees to fund the season only if Lise is given a significant piece, Adam composes the music and Jerry creates the design. Milo and Jerry had a short talk before the auditions and she was seduced by his looks and talent so she invites him to a party to introduce to gallery owners. After the auditions Jerry still struck by Lise’s beauty follows her to work – perfume section at Galleries Lafayettes. He buys her perfume and and asks her to meet him in the evening. Lise agrees as she wants to avoid any inconvenience at work. She goes to meet Jerry after work and return the perfume but eventually she agrees to meet him at the same place all the evenings until he finishes her portrait. Later in the evening Jerry, Adam and Henri sit in a cafe and they discover that all three of them are in love, but they don’t mention their significant other’s name. They all are in love with Lise. As the story unfolds we find out that Lise comes from the Jewish family and she was given a shelter by the Baurels during the 2nd World War. She thinks she owes her life to the Baurels and even though she loves Jerry she feels obliged to stay with Henri. At the end the ballet turns out to be a great success, Lise become a star, Adam’s music is hailed by the critiques and he is thankful to Lise as she was the inspiration. Henri’s singing career is approved by his family after they attend his performance by accident and Henri decides to let Lise go. Jerry and Lise stay together in Paris and in Love.
The musical is based on a 1951 film of the same name adapted for the stage by Christopher Wheeldon. The show premiered in Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 2014 and was transferred to Broadway in 2015. West End production opened in March 2017. The music used in the musical was composed by George Gershwin and the lyrics to songs were written by Ira Gershwin. Craig Lucas is the author of the book.
Director and Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon OBE
Producers: Stuart Oken, Van Kaplan, Roy Furman, Joshua Andrews, Michael McCabe
Casting: James Orange
020 3393 2612
Linear House, Peyton Place, Greenwich, London, SE10 8RS
This time bought my ticket directly from the Nederlander website. £31 print-at-home ticket for the back seat in the stalls. Good view on the whole stage; the theatre is huge though and I felt I was a bit too far from the stage.
Running time is 2 hours 35 minutes.
The Theatre Rat