‘Amelie,’ a whimsical new musical at Ahmanson; DVD updates

0
1459
AMELIE PHOTO ONINE.jpg
‘Amelie,’ a whimsical new musical at Ahmanson; DVD updates

It’s not often that Angelenos get to see a new musical production before it opens on Broadway, so enjoy the opportunity to experience the winsome, imaginative “Amelie” at the Ahmanson before it opens on Broadway in March 2017. Other musicals, prior to “Amelie,” that moved from the Ahmanson to Broadway are “Curtains,” “9 to 5: the Musical” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

It’s not often that Angelenos get to see a new musical production before it opens on Broadway, so enjoy the opportunity to experience the winsome, imaginative “Amelie” at the Ahmanson before it opens on Broadway in March 2017. Other musicals, prior to “Amelie,” that moved from the Ahmanson to Broadway are “Curtains,” “9 to 5: the Musical” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“Amelie,” the musical is a reimagining of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film “Amelie,” that starred the wide-eyed Audrey Tautou as a young girl who led a very sheltered and lonely life before moving to Paris.

In the film much of what Amelie is thinking and feeling is conveyed by close ups and facial expressions; on stage her emotions are expressed in song.

The new stage musical, written by Craig Lucas (Book), Daniel Messe (Music) and Nathan Tysen, who co-wrote the lyrics with Messe, is directed by Pam MacKinnon. As the show opens there is a large picture frame through which the future characters in Amalie’s life walk out on stage. As she  grows older they will all play a part in her story and she in theirs,

Young Amalie (10-year-old Savvy Crawford) is an inquisitive little girl who leads a very quiet, sheltered life. Her father, a physician (Manoel Felciano), decides that Amelie should be home-schooled for health reasons so her only companion and friend is her pet goldfish “Fluffy.” The adult Amelie is played by Phillipa Soo, who received a Tony nomination for playing Hamilton’s wife in the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton.”

As a young adult Amelie moves to Paris. She has an avid imagination, but does not connect with too many people other than her co-workers in a Montmartre cafe. Things change somewhat when she discovers a little treasure box under the floorboards of her apartment. Inspired by watching Princess Diana and Mother Teresa on TV, she suddenly decides to devote her life to secretly helping others. Her first saintly task is to find the little boy, now a grown man,    and anonymously return the box filled with his childhood treasures.

As she explores Paris in her quest to do good deeds, she notices another free spirit, Nino (Adam Chanler-Berat) who collects discarded pictures from the train station photo booth and places them in a book he carries. She feels a connection to him, but is too shy to ask him why he is gathering the pictures. When he accidentally leaves the book behind one day she tracks him down in the hopes of helping him secretly. But are they destined to ever meet face to face and fall in love?  This could be a problem for Amelie because as a child, her mother taught her that everything is always half way out of reach. But perhaps she and Nino could each walk halfway toward one another and meet in the middle?

As Amelie interacts with others she, and we, meet all sorts of quirky characters including a garden gnome (David Andino), who, thanks to Amelie, gets to travel around the world. This is a very clever bit. To say more would ruin the fun.

Tickets for “Amelie” are available by calling 213-972-4400, online at CenterTheatreGroup.org or by visiting the Center theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre, located at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave. in Downtown Los Angeles. “Amalie” runs through Jan. 15.

***

If you haven’t seen Tom Hanks in “Sully,” you can now own or rent it on DVD. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film is riveting and involving as we go behind the scenes of the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger saved the lives of all 155 passengers on board his aircraft after the plane lost both engines because of bird strikes. Within seconds Sully and his co-pilot (Aaron Eckhart) were able to glide the disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River. Even though he was heralded for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill an all-out investigation threatens to destroy Sully’s spotless reputation and career. Bonus features include: “Sully Sullenberger: The Man Behind the Miracle,” “Moment by Moment: Averting Disaster On the Hudson” and “Neck Deep in the Hudson: Shooting Sully.” In this final segment Director Clint Eastwood and others reveal how Flight 1549’s terrifying splashdown on the Hudson river was captured on film. From Warner Bros,, rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language.

For the younger set, check out the animated ”The Secret Life of Pets” and find out what they do all day. The DVD also includes three mini movies. Rated PG for action and some rude humor. From Disney there is the animated “Finding Dory” and “Pete’s Dragon” featuring Robert Redford.

As the old year ends, I wish you all a Happy and Entertaining New Year!