An American In Paris |
November 28 - December 10, 2017
Detroit Opera House. Detroit, MI
Senior Writer: Diana Brang-Scott
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS was inspired by the 1951 Academy-Award winning film, starring Gene Kelly. It is the romantic story about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Directed and choreographed by 2015 Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon, the show features the music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and a book by Craig Lucas.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Michigan’s own Teri Hansen who is playing the part of Madame Baurel. Teri has many connections to our home state, she was born and raised in Birmingham, her father played for the Detroit Lions and she attended Central Michigan University, just to name a few. From Opera to Broadway Teri Hansen has received International recognition, she has appeared with symphony orchestras and notable conductors around the world. Miss Hansen is a Kennedy Center Irene Ryan Award nominee, she has done film and even appeared in the hit drama “Orange is the New Black” series. You may even remember
Miss Hansen, as I do for her role of the “Baroness, Elsa von Schraeder” in the 50th Anniversary Celebration Tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC that was here at the Fisher Theatre last year.
Teri is a delight to speak with, she carries herself with confidence, class and is just charming through and through. She expresses how excited she is to be back in her home state and having the opportunity to perform on The Detroit Opera house stage. I asked her to describe AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. “This show is glorious! Its got everything anyone who loves Broadway goes for. The amazing sets, lights and costumes, the big song and dance numbers. Its got songs like ‘I’ve Got Rhythm,’ and ‘The Man I Love.’ It’s a wonderful story that tells the tale of the reillumination of Paris, and that the city was not extinguished by the Nazis. That the human spirit, love, art, life, laughter, joy and all things we know to be Paris were not completely left in the dark, and this story tell the tale of the inspirational various characters who come back to life and light, and Paris herself comes out of the dark into the light. It’s the story of love and inspiration and Gershwin, Gershwin, Gershwin, who could ask for anything more”. (We laugh as she cleverly quotes a lyric form one of the big musical numbers in the show “I’ve got Rhythm”.)
The role of Madame Baurel is Teri’s first strictly acting only role (usually she gets to show off her incredible vocal abilities.) “My character is not in the original film AN AMERICAN IN PARIS this is a role that was created for the musical as a sort of framing devise to give the story some heft. We are in post-World War II, shortly after the liberation of Paris. Madame Baurel is an extraordinary woman who has survived two world wars, she has a son and is an incredible force in the community. She is an entrepreneur, a supporter of the ballet, she was part of the resistance and even housed and hid Jews from the Nazis. She is a very staunch austere character, she says laughing, “completely unlike myself.” “It’s a real challenge to play her because I’m a person filled with ‘Joie de vivre’ and Madame Baurel’s has almost been
completely been extinguished to just survive. So, you have this wonderful journey of a woman who is straightjacked emotionally and physically and she is totally and completely analogous to Paris herself”.
We continued to chat about how this musical AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is very akin to all of the realities that were happening in Paris at the time, and how we think one of the reasons this story is so enduring is because we are dealing with real history.
I asked Teri about how one of the musicals themes is focused around the arts and how that is important in todays world too? She said, “I think that art itself is so important and as we navigate these tricky times where the N.E.A. (National Endowment for the Arts) funding is being cut and art organizations around the United States are being unsupported, it becomes even more important to support the arts. The experience of Live theater lets us escape reality and go on a beautiful journey, its restorative to the soul, the mind, the heart, and it inspires us. We need here in the United States to aspire to appreciate value Art for Arts sake, and really recognize the importance of it, and how it should be a priority in all our lives. Not just listening to live music, or attending the theatre, but take an art class, go see an exhibit and experience how it will enrich your life”.
So, get inspired and come see Teri and the rest of the cast in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Detroit Opera House, November 28 – December 10, 2017.
This amazing timeless musical won four 2015 Tony Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Award for Best Musical, three Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, and two Theatre World Awards. The musical was included on the Year’s Best lists of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, the Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Masterworks Broadway Original Broadway Cast recording of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS was nominated for the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy Award.
Tickets for AN AMERICAN IN PARIS start at $29 (includes facility fee) and are on sale now at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787 and online at or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the Detroit Opera House and Fisher Theatre box offices. For group sales (12 or more) please call 313-871-1132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets for the Open Captioned performance may be purchased in person at the Fisher Theatre Box Office or by phone at 313-872-1000, ext. 0.
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For more information on Teri Hansen or her solo CD “Into Your Arms…Love Songs of Richard Rodger’s” check out her website www.teridalehansen.com.