Sunday, July 16, 2017

Under the Stars: An American in Paris

by Pa Rock
Theatre Fan

The outing to Kansas City is over, and Rosie and I are safely back at The Roost.  The three kittens are in good homes and are reported to be adjusting well to life in suburbia.   Fiona doesn't appear to be stressed over the forced removal of her offspring, and her only concern when we arrived back at the farm today was letting me know that she was powerful hungry.  That situation has been remedied.  The little black kitten who hid in fear as I was snatching his siblings Friday morning, is now back to playing underfoot.

Stopped in Springfield on the way home to visit with a dear friend who is in the hospital after suffering a stroke last week.  Those of you who know Mertie H. can email me and I will give you a more complete account of her situation.  She is a wonderful person!

The major news out of the Kansas City area is this:  Little Olive, age five, went the the pool with her mother and little brother yesterday evening while her dad and I were at the theatre.  While at the pool, she climbed the ladder and stepped boldly off of the high diving board!  Mother caught it all on video.  This was Olive's first time jumping from the high dive, and she showed no hesitation at all!  Way to go, Olive - you rock!

Tim and I spent yesterday evening at Kansas City's beautiful Starlight Theatre enjoying a Broadway touring version of "An American in Paris," a recently developed musical stage production based on the 1951 film of the same name that starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.  Tim secured two separate seats for us - one of the best in the house and one of the worst.  He put me on the front row near the center where I had a great view not only of the stage, but of the orchestra pit as well.  It was kind of a bifocal situation where I could alternate views of two distinct shows.  Youngest son got himself a seat in the nosebleed section and then moved down into decent seating once the show was underway.

The show was good, in fact, it was a very solid production of song and dance numbers woven into a story about three young men who met in Paris immediately after World War II - two Americans and a rich Frenchman who had been in the resistance during the war.  Unfortunately the three new friends all managed to fall in love with the same young woman - a dancer.  The Frenchman's family funded a special ballet to showcase the young lady's dance skills.  One of the Americans designed the set for the production, and the other wrote the musical score.

The play, of course, revolved around which lucky young man will wind up with the beautiful dancer.

I'm a bit jaded when it comes to ballet because I have been fortunate to see some of the world's finest - the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Kirov in St. Petersburg - and while the dancers in last night's show were skilled in their craft, none approached the caliber of a Natalis Osipova, Rudolf Nureyev, or Mikhail Baryshnikov.  To be fair, I did hear several members of the audience praising the dance performances after the show, with a couple saying it was one of the best nusicals they had ever attended.

The second act contained an eighteen-minute ballet sequence in which the young woman's true love interest was finally clarified,  And while that was the dance highlight of the entire production, I was more impressed with  a tap number set in a nightclub earlier in the same act.  The tap dancing scene had some of the best costuming of the show, and the dancers seemed to be more comfortable hoofing across the stage on their toes and heels instead of just their toes.  The segment ended with kick line that energized the show as well as the house.

The musical score was by George and Ira Gershwin - and it doesn't get any better than that!

The stars were sparkling at the Starlight Theatre last night, on the stage and across the heavens.  It was a beautiful evening!

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