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An American in Paris show set for West End

BBC News BBC News 22/04/2016 By Tim Masters
Christopher Wheeldon: Director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon was made an OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours © BBC Director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon was made an OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours

Broadway musical hit An American in Paris, inspired by the Oscar-winning MGM film classic starring Gene Kelly, is to open in the West End next year.

The show, directed by British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, tells the story of an American GI falling in love in post-war Paris.

The Broadway production won four Tony awards in 2015, with Wheeldon picking up the prize for best choreography.

It will open at London's Dominion Theatre on 21 March 2017.

Both of the Broadway leads will reprise their roles in the West End production, as part of a company of more than 50 actors, dancers and musicians.

New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Fairchild will play Jerry Mulligan, the American GI striving to make it as a painter in Paris, and British Royal Ballet soloist Leanne Cope will play the beautiful young dancer Lise Dassin with whom he falls in love.

The show's songs, by George and Ira Gershwin, include I Got Rhythm, 'S Wonderful, and They Can't Take That Away From Me.

The stage adaptation includes a reimagined version of the famous 17-minute ballet sequence between Kelly and co-star Lesley Caron that concludes the 1951 film.

An American in Paris had been rumoured for a London transfer after a casting call for ballet dancers appeared in February.

Wheeldon's production had its world premiere in Paris at the Theatre du Chatelet in 2014 before it transferred to New York's Palace Theatre in April 2015. A major North American tour begins later this year.

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