An incredible lineup of Broadway shows are coming to Atlanta
It amazes me in the year of 2017 — with the world, quite literally, at our fingertips, with videos of real-time, lavish spectacle on demand — that live on-stage performances continue to mesmerize and enchant. But that’s just what they do. And the upcoming Broadway in Atlanta season at the Fox Theatre will prove it.
But first, their close-out musical ending the 2016/2017 season is one not to miss. An American in Paris is new but old. While the play opened on Broadway only two years ago, the movie of the same name starring Gene Kelly debuted in 1951 as a box office hit. And it drew its name from an even earlier musical piece by composer George Gershwin.
The goal of all three works is to evoke the essence of Paris itself: the charm, distraction and nostalgia an American visitor there nearly always feels. The musical succeeds in this, probably part of what helped earn it four Tony Awards. It’s a different Paris than the one we know today. The story is set in post-war Europe and concerns an American soldier and a French ballerina with a mysterious past. You’ll tap your feet to classics like “I Got Rhythm” and enjoy performances ranging from classical ballet to jazz.
It has everything the most traditional musical would have — romance, lots of singing, elaborate costumes, slick choreography, even a chorus line. But it’s a little different in a few ways. The plot at first seems opera-like predictable, then makes you second guess yourself. The staging uses a giant screen that gives a sometimes artistic, sometimes psychedelic edge to the numbers. And the supporting characters are just as nuanced as the two stars. All told, it’s charming, and sometimes when you go to the theater, you just want something lighthearted. That’s An American in Paris. You can catch the show through Sunday at the Fox.
Other Broadway shows coming soon:
The upcoming season, however, runs the gamut in themes, from silly to sobering. They may have packed too many blockbusters into this one because season subscriptions are already sold out.
Kicking it off, The King and I begins Sept. 26. I doubt this Rogers & Hammerstein’s classic needs any introduction, but if you want to pass a pleasant 90 seconds gazing at the pageantry, here’s the musical’s montage.
The Color Purple follows in October, another musical, this time more serious and also more inspiring, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker. The year finishes with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. From there, it only gets better. The new year starts off with Disney’s epic stage version of The Lion King and continues with the well-known hit Rent.
Two comedies of different styles come next: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder and Something Rotten! Gentleman’s Guide involves a scion of the British aristocracy as he tries to jump the succession line through devious means. Something Rotten!, also a period piece, was the one that surprised me most. Theater fans will enjoy the over-the-top allusions to other Broadway shows in this farce that answers the question: what if someone tried to one-up Shakespeare by introducing musical theater during the Renaissance?
And while another quirky comedy, The Book of Mormon, rounds out the season, it’s a different play that feels like the finale. Yes, Hamilton is coming to Atlanta. It opens May 22 and closes June 10.