By Marcina Zaccaria . . .
Streaming media soars through Montmartre in the Broadway revival of Amour. The week that Pop-Up performances were announced on the Great White Way, I chose to take a step in a different direction and watch a revival of Amour, with music by Michel Legrand and libretto by Didier van Cauwelaert.
It’s a breezy, placid, flowing performance, by a team of capable singers directed by Fofonoff. The backdrops easily flow around Montmartre, a special part of Paris in this re-telling of the short story Le Passe-Muraille. Known for its painters, cabaret performers, and broody, edge characters from town, Montmartre keeps its unique splendor. This fantasy of postcard images comes alive with light, melodic songs, as we follow a type of everyman, Dusoleil, played by Drew Gehling. With solos, duets, and ensemble numbers, Parisians find connection, just after WWII. The characters’ lives become deeply intertwined, and their journey together is nothing short of revelatory.
Always looking through the camera, the singers reach deep into their soul, attempting to find greater connection. Performing against a type of green screen, their world seems so delicate. The images look cut-out and composited for beauty. The fairy tale imagery is complete with beautiful textured shawls, and carefully sewn dresses. When a lead character begins flowing through the blue skies, covered with clouds, we realize that we are in another world, where walking through walls has less to do with the local apothecary salesman, and more to do with embracing the rules of the space we are in.
Love is envisioned in so many enlightening new ways. Framed at a window, Christiani Pitts as Isabelle, longs for the fine world outside of her room. Against a lampost, Rachel York as The Whore, spits out cabaret songs while surveying her street. Derrick Baskin as The Painter holds his own against the strong backdrop of Sacré-Cœur Basilica, finding a beauty in the canvas that is almost godly. All the drama ends up in a courtroom, where all of the performers, evenly spaced throughout the room, plead their case.
I missed the original run of the show in 2002 at the Music Box Theatre. However, seeing this streaming revival made me wish to see the broad scale musical on stage again. While I truly appreciate the polished look of a Judy Garland or Gene Kelly MGM Classic, I find this type of streaming video inspiring, and walked away from this experience with a perfect sense of levity and joy.
Exclusively on Stellar, Amour was presented by Art Lab and ShowTown Productions. It’s shown from April 2-April 4.