By: Leah Parodi
The most awarded musical of 2015 will entertain audiences this February when An American in Paris plays at Omaha’s Orpheum Theater. Just to recap; An American in Paris 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.
An American in Paris is based upon the Academy-Award winning film by the same name that starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron and won the Best Picture Oscar in 1951. The touring musical, which features the music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, is directed and choreographed by 2015 Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon. Audiences across the country are falling in love with the incredible music and lyrics, a powerful score that includes such timeless songs as “I Got Rhythm,” “Liza,” “But Not for Me,” and “An American In Paris.” An American In Paris has it all; an amazing score, beautiful choreography, skilled and talented performers and a love story for the ages.
This romantic musical tells of an American soldier and a mysterious French girl in the city of love and lights in the aftermath of WWII. An American in Paris follows American soldier, Jerry Mulligan, who decides to stay in Paris, following the war, to pursue his love of painting after meeting a lovely, unusual and exotic young woman. Mulligan is joined in Paris by a fellow soldier who wants to be a composer, the son of a French business mogul who wants to be a dancer and a tenacious young American woman do-gooder. A heart-wrenching love triangle develops after Mulligan realizes his mysterious French love is the soon to be fiancée of one of his dear friends. An American in Paris is a beautiful, uplifting tale bursting with passion, electricity, dreams and the dare to follow one’s heart.
Christopher M. Howard is one of the many incredibly talented swing/ensemble cast and is extremely passionate about his role in this not-to-be-missed musical. Howard, also credited as Dance Supervisor and Fight Captain on this tour, has also performed in renditions of The Phantom of the Opera and Billy Elliot. He toured internationally with A Chorus Line and has danced for the Dayton Ballet. Howard trained at SUNY Buffalo where he earned two degrees; BFA in Music and a BA in Dance and attended the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in NYC where he got a full-ride scholarship.
Howard has been performing since he was young and discovered that performing was his passion, his calling at an early age. “I remember in middle school trying out for a play at school,” he said. “I thought that it was a cool thing to do, just for fun.” But after his very first time on stage he knew that performing changed him. “I knew that this was it and growing up I knew I couldn’t do anything else. I always tell people, including my students, that if you can’t see yourself doing anything else, don’t do it. This business is not for the faint of heart.”
Howard is thrilled to be a part of the An American in Paris tour and wants audiences to know that they are not prepared for this beautiful production. “There is magic in this tour and it comes from the choreographer (Christopher Wheeldon) who uses a mix of dance that is integrated into a new way of telling this story; it is not a traditional musical.” Howard said that this production features singing, acting, music and uses dance especially, as a medium to tell the story and grow the plot. “We are using dance and dancers to further the story as not before seen in any other production.”
And Howard said that audiences cannot get enough. “We have heard nothing but amazing reviews and that is credit to the caliber of dancers and the Gershwin real appeal. There is something for everyone from tap to ballet, this musical is for everyone all ages. And simply put; this is a great story.”
An American in Paris will play Omaha’s Orpheum Theater for one week only February 13-18, 2018 as part of Omaha Performing Arts 2017/2018 Broadway Season. Tickets, starting at $35, are now available at TicketOmaha.com, by phone at (402) 345-0606, or in person at the Ticket Omaha Box Office, 1200 Douglas Street. Performance Dates and Times are Tuesday, February 13 (7:30 PM), Wednesday, February 14 (7:30 PM), Thursday, February 15 (7:30 PM), Friday, February 16 (8:00 PM), Saturday, February 17 (2:00 PM & 8:00 PM) and Sunday, February 18 (1:30 PM & 7:00 PM). For more information visit TicketOmaha.com and AnAmericanInParisBroadway.com.