There were times last night that the stage of the Ziff  Ballet Opera House in the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami didn’t seem it could contain the artistry, the talent, the love of dance that Garen Scribner brought to his role as Jerry  in “An American In Paris”. Whether dancing solo or doing a pas de deux with Sara Esty or dancing with the ensemble of 19, or the whole cast, his body takes amazing twists and turns and extensions that no body should be able to do. For a certain generation in the audience he even makes them forget the originator of the role in the Hollywood movie that the Broadway musical is based on.

“An American in Paris” is a story of 3 men in love with the same girl. Jerry (Scribner) and Adam (Etai Benson) are American soldiers who decided to stay in Paris at the end of World War 2 and Henri (Nick Spangler) is a Frenchman who is expected to lead a certain life already mapped out by his parents but who dreams of singing and dancing in New York at the Radio City Music Hall and the men are in love with Lise (Esty), a lithe ballerina wanna-be.

Add to this the memorable music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, an unending change of costumes and constantly moving set and projections by Bob Crowley all under the direction of, and choreography by, Christopher Wheeldon and you are spending an enchanting evening in the theatre. One has to add a special acknowledgement to the Music Director/Conductor David Andrews Rogers and his 14 piece orchestra who back the cast superbly!

Whether it is tapping your feet to “I Got Rythm” or getting hit with the razzle dazzle of “I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise” or laughing at Jerry singing and dancing to win Lise in “I’ve Got Beginner’s Luck” not to forget such standards as “The Man I Love”, “But Not For Me” or throwing in the mind and body bending by the whole cast in “Fidgety Feet” the music is always there to make the show feel ” ‘S Wonderful”.

To top it all off there is the show’s title ballet number that pairs Scribner and Esty is that pas de deux where they compliment, mirror, meld into each other becoming one beautiful moving defintion of what dance can show.

The whole cast, especially the leads, are triple threats not only with strong dancing, good acting but also singing with Sara Esty and Etai Benson being standouts, the latter being so good singing “But Not For Me”, and in the number with Nick Spangler, that I wish he had a couple of solos. Don Noble and Gayton Scott as Henri’s parents and Emily Ferranti as a diletante of the arts not only sings, dances and acts with aplomb but nails all her comedic lines along with showing the vulnerability of her character.

The bottom line is that there are many excellent reasons for seeing this touring production of “An American In Paris” you will not see a better dancer and entertainer than Garen Scribner and the memory of seeing him will have you singing “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” the last song you will hear as you leave the theatre.

Running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes including a 25 minute intermission

“An American In Paris” will be running through New Year’s Day–be sure to go to http://www.anamericaninparisbroadway.com to see when it is coming to your city.

Coming next to the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami “Beautiful” February 14-19

(Garen Scribner & Sara Esty–photo by Matthew Murphy)

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