Amour (musical)

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Amour
AmourMusical.jpg
2002 Broadway Playbill
Music Michel Legrand
Lyrics Didier Van Cauwelaert
Book Jeremy Sams
Basis 1943 short story Le Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé
Productions 1997 Paris
2002 Broadway

Amour is a musical fantasy with an English book by Jeremy Sams, music by Michel Legrand, and lyrics by Didier Van Cauwelaert, who wrote the original French libretto.

The musical is adapted from the 1943 short story Le Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé and set in Paris shortly after World War II. It centers on a shy, unassuming clerk who develops the ability to walk through walls, and who challenges himself to stick to his moral center and change others' lives, and his own, as a result.

Production[edit]

In 1997, Legrand, a noted film composer and jazz musician, and a newcomer to stage musicals at age 65, brought the musical (under its original title, Le Passe Muraille) to Paris where it won the Prix Molière for Best Musical.

The Broadway production, directed by James Lapine and presented without intermission, opened on October 20, 2002 at the Music Box Theatre. The show closed after 17 performances and 31 previews. The cast included Malcolm Gets and Melissa Errico.

The musical received mostly negative reviews in America, although Errico, Gets and the score were praised. Ben Brantley, in his review for The New York Times, wrote: "Even charming is too weighty a word to describe the wispy appeal of Amour"[1] The Talkin' Broadway reviewer, however, wrote: "Broadway's Music Box Theatre may have found its most ideal tenant in quite a while. The delightful little jewel box of a musical, Amour, ...deserves a lengthy stay there, where it may enchant audiences for a long time to come."[2] Cary Wong in filmscoremonthly wrote: "The lyrics are mostly pedestrian and uninvolving, and they make the already stock characters even more one-dimensional."[3]

A "reconceived production" was produced by Goodspeed Musicals from August 11 through September 4, 2005.[4]

Characters[edit]

  • Dusoleil: a self-proclaimed "ordinary guy" who discovers he can walk through walls
  • Isabelle: an unhappily married woman and the object of Dusoleil's affections
  • Whore, Painter, Newsvendor: three street workers who support Dusoleil
  • Prosecutor: Isabelle's husband, a man with more than a few skeletons in his closet
  • Boss: Dusoleil's nasty boss
  • Doctor Roucefort: Dusoleil's doctor, who gives him the eventual cure to his intangibility
  • Madeleine, Claire, Charles, Bertrand: Dusoleil's co-workers. The women reveal feelings for Dusoleil when they discover he is the elusive "Monsieur Passepartout"
  • Policemen: "henchmen" hired by the prosecutor to keep the people of Montmartre in check
  • Monsieur le President: President of the tribunal that tries Dusoleil
  • Advocate: Dusoleil's lawyer, who appears on behalf of Dusoleil on his very first day in court

Plot[edit]

In Paris after WWII, a shy, unassuming "invisible" civil servant, Dusoleil, lives alone and works in a dreary office under a tyrannical boss. His lazy co-workers are unhappy because Dusoleil is a hard worker who finishes his work early. To pass the time, he writes letters to his mother and daydreams about the beautiful Isabelle. Isabelle is kept locked away by her controlling husband, the prosecutor-general with an unsavory past. When Dusoleil miraculously gains the ability to walk through walls, he begins to steal from the rich and give to the poor. He also gains the self-confidence to woo Isabelle, who is intrigued by the news stories about Passepartout, a mysterious criminal who can walk through walls.

Dusoleil's life, as well as Isabelle's and the other characters, takes a rich and, for a while, romantic turn. As Dusoleil admits to being Passepartout, he is put on trial in front of the prosecutor. Before the trial progresses, Isabelle reveals her husband's secret—that he was a Nazi collaborator. Dusoleil is pardoned and he spends one romantic night with Isabelle. When he takes pills that the doctor has given him, mistaking them for aspirin, he loses his magic power. He becomes stuck mid-leap in a wall, and his memory is carried on in story and song.

Song list[edit]

Recording[edit]

A recording of the musical was released by Ghostlight on July 8, 2003.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2003 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Jeremy Sams Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Malcolm Gets Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Christopher Fitzgerald Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical James Lapine Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Michel Legrand Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Didier Van Cauwelaert Nominated
Outstanding Music Michel Legrand Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Scott Pask Nominated
Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Jeremy Sams Nominated
Best Original Score Michel Legrand and Didier Van Cauwelaert Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Malcolm Gets Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Melissa Errico Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brantley, Ben."Theater Review: A French Milquetoast's Talent Lights the Fuse of Mischief" The New York Times, October 21, 2002
  2. ^ Murray, Matthew."Broadway Review: 'Amour'" Talkin' Broadway, October 20, 2002
  3. ^ "'Amour' Musical Review" Filmscoremonthly, November 2002
  4. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Will 'Amour' Be Lovelier the Second Time Around? Goodspeed Reconceives Legrand Musical, Through Sept. 4" Playbill.com , August 12, 2005
  5. ^ "'Amour'" SH-K Boom site; "'Amour'" Barnes and Noble

External links[edit]