You know how sometimes, you just need a little comfort? An afternoon nap under a blanket; a bowl of mashed potatoes; re-watching sitcoms from the 90s; a big fluffy scarf that you can hide behind whilst traipsing through endless people at the train station…that kind of comfort?
That’s sort of how I felt about An American in Paris on Broadway. I’ve had the briefest of flings with the Big Apple this trip, and in two days managed to cram in two shows. After falling and feeling all over Fun Home at the Wednesday matinee (it’s an amazing show), I stumbled out into the Great White Way, wondering where I could get my next fix. Of theatre, I should clarify. After the possibility of free tickets fell through, I was at a bit of a loss – should I see if TKTS had any last minute possibilities? Should I give up and instead make my way down to Marie’s Crisis so I could sing the songs as well?
And just then, twinkling at me, I noticed the Palace Theatre and its giant vintage-looking billboards announcing An American in Paris. I thought I’d try my luck at the theatre, and thankfully I managed to nab a leftover rush ticket. I have to say – the show is astoundingly beautiful. The costumes are gorgeous, the animated set pieces (which look like watercolours in progress) are glorious, the dancing sublime. Christopher Wheeldon has produced a stunning show for his first outing on Broadway, and whilst it felt more like a ballet with songs (unsurprisingly, given Wheeldon’s background) it was thoroughly enjoyable. It didn’t challenge or move me in the same way that Fun Home did. It didn’t have the depth or the earnest heart of the other show. And that’s OK. I think, perhaps all too often, I go to the theatre with a desire to see something new, bold, challenging, life-changing. I really want that. But it’s also good to be reminded that sometimes I also want ease, beauty, comfort. I Got Ryhthm, and I got that – comfort – like a big steaming mug of New York hot chocolate.