Saturday, July 1, 2017

Amelie on Broadway

The 2001 French film Amelie has long been one of Don's favorites. We saw movie posters for it when we were in Paris in 2001, the year before Ashley was born. We were pleased when it was translated into English and came to the United States. The movie is quirky and charming and worth watching more than once (which is a rare thing for me to say). This is all to say we were pretty excited and curious to learn it was coming to Broadway. Ashley was excited because the play was starring Phillipa Soo from Hamilton fame. 

Tickets went on sale in January. We bought tickets for May 21 as a birthday present for Ashley. About two weeks before the show we learned it was closing on May 22. Seems the reviewers didn't care for it, and it didn't garner any Tony nominations. Still, we were pretty excited. 

We had tickets to the evening performance, but arrived in time to hang out by the stage door prior to the matinee. Don and Ashley caught Phillipa as she arrived. I was a few steps behind trying to see if we could snag tickets from TKTS. Nothing caught our eye so we walked around Central Park, and met up with my mom and her friend, Aunt Doris, for dinner at The Counter.

Ashley gave Phillipa a picture she drew for her.

We saw people leave the theater after the matinee. They were not smiling and laughing. I suspect this is part of the problem with the musical. Yes, it is easy to say what is wrong with a Broadway show that closed only a few weeks after it opened. Other friends of mine saw it. The consensus was you had to have seen the movie first to follow the plot of the 100-minute musical. There is something wrong with that. Perhaps they should have added an intermission and a second act to fill in the plot holes. Parts of the movie that had us laughing (such as when Amelie plays practical jokes on her neighbor the grocer because he is mean to his son) were missing. The grocer's son only appears in one scene in the play -- they might have been better off cutting his role completely.

I missed Yann Tiersen's accordion music. Instead it was replaced by songs developed only to further the plot (a good thing in a musical, I suppose). To me the biggest issue with the music was the last song. Amelie and Nico finally connect and there should be a big Happily Ever After number, instead it is a wistful song saying they can't promise a happy life to each other, but it would be nice if that happened. Then a curtain call and the audience leaves sadder than when they arrived.

I am glad I saw it. By Broadway ticket price standards, it was a bargain ($59 vs. $229 for Hamilton's cheap seats). I also doubt we'll ever see it make the community theater or high school rounds.

No comments:

Post a Comment