One of Hollywood’s most honored movie musicals, transferred to the stage. An eco-circus extravaganza with a Latin accent. And a line-up of top-notch musicians coming to a pleasing waterfront town just north of Seattle. These are some of the local cultural events we’ve circled on our spring 2017 cultural calendar.
An American in Paris
Broadway has welcomed many new musicals inspired by film hits, but not all of them have clicked with critics and audiences. There has to be something felicitous in the mingling of music, dance, and spectacle with a familiar story that makes the transformation from screen to stage special.
An American in Paris had that kind of je ne sais quoi when it debuted on Broadway in 2015, and the charm is repeated in a North American tour that glides into Seattle for a May run at the Paramount Theatre. The show is based on the exhilarating Oscar-winning film starring Gene Kelly as a former GI and aspiring artist in post-World War II France, and Leslie Caron as the fetching jeune fille who makes him burst into song. And what Gershwin songs! I Got Rhythm, S’ Wonderful, Embraceable You, and more.
The lead characters and tunes in the theatrical version are much the same, but Craig Lucas has rewritten the story to delve more deeply into the psyche of war-weary, liberated Paris. And while the show doesn’t aim to copy the inventive 20-minute dance fantasia in the movie, it is well-stocked with romantic pas de deux and joyful hoofing performed by veterans of leading ballet companies. It’s a sophisticated yet family-friendly treat.
An American in Paris plays May 9-14 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. For details, call 206-682-1414 or see stgpresents.org.
Cirque du Soleil
The Montreal-based and internationally heralded circus with the mostest returns to the region with one of its latest spectacles, Luzia, spending the spring in the big-top tent at Marymoor Park in Redmond.
Billed as a “waking dream” that “transports you to an imaginary Mexico,” Luzia soars on the metaphor of a butterfly’s migration from Canada to Latin America. Aerial feats, clowning interludes, a rain-calling ceremony, and visions of marigolds, hummingbirds, and jaguars are all accompanied by a soundscape that draws from Mexico’s rich musical traditions, from the salsa-like cumbia to the flamenco-esque huapango.
Luzia will run March 31-May 21 at Marymoor Park, Redmond. More information and tickets: cirquedusoleil.com.
Edmonds Center for the Arts
While Seattle is the cultural epicenter of our region, numerous nearby communities have their own thriving arts hubs. Edmonds Center for the Arts presents a roster that includes both local performing groups and highly rated musical stars.
This spring is no exception, with some longtime favorites from an array of genres waiting in the wings. The legendary soul singer Aaron Neville offers a musical taste of New Orleans on April 13. Veteran folkie Arlo Guthrie, of Alice’s Restaurant fame, brings his family show April 19. Those who count TV dance competitions as a guilty pleasure may want to catch Dancing With Our Stars featuring local luminaries and ballroom dance pros on April 22. The winning jazz crooner and guitarist John Pizzarelli shares the stage with fellow singer and cabaret star Ann Hampton Callaway on May 20.
For tickets and a full list of upcoming Edmonds Center for the Arts shows, go to edmondscenterforthearts.org or call 425-275-9595.
Misha Berson writes about the arts for The Seattle Times and many other publications, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).