Paramour – Cirque Du Soleil on Broadway

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Anyone who knows me and/or has read this site for any amount of time knows how much I love movies. (Excuse me… Films!) I love modern films, as well as older films. I love all things Hollywood and still see the place as magical. There is even more grandeur and fairydust sprinkled on the way I see the place the further back in time we go.

The ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ represents films at their pinnacle, and Paramour the new Broadway play produced by Cirque du Soleil attempts to do that. Many of you know my experience with film and live performance arts but for those that do not. I attended film school in New York City and I produce burlesque shows that contain circus, sideshow, vocal performances, etc. I love live entertainment and film. I love Broadway and I have seen numerous Cirque du Soleil performances over the years.

Photo: PARAMOUR on Broadway - A Cirque du Soleil Musical; Cast: Indigo: Ruby Lewis A.J.: Jeremy Kushnier Joey: Ryan Vona Invited dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, April 15, 2016; 7:00 PM at the Lyric Theatre/Broadway, New York; Photograph: © 2016 RICHARD TERMINE PHOTO CREDIT - RICHARD TERMINE

Paramour is not like any Cirque show I’ve ever seen. First and foremost this is a Broadway musical. It features singing, dancing, costumes, sets and a narrative plot. Other Cirque shows are often bound together by a concept and while they tell a story they don’t often use words to do so. There is definitely structure that links the pieces together but they don’t narrate a specific story for you.

The differences don’t end there. Traditionally Cirque shows take place in a big top or a special theatre designed specifically for the show. Paramour took over the Lyric Theatre in Manhattan, which formerly housed Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. Though since Spiderman was in the same space, we know the theatre has the support structure built in for high flying aerial performances and that makes a lot of sense considering that the main draw for attendees are the circus elements.

Paramour’s plot is that of an aspiring singer/actress, Indigo (Ruby Lewis), who is discovered by a director, A.J. (Jeremy Kushnier). Indigo, is given the opportunity to become a star but it means she must choose between being in movies; and her friend/song writing partner, Joey (Ryan Vona). Indigo becomes a major Hollywood star, Joey is hired to write a song for AJ’s film and AJ obsesses over every detail of his vision.

Paramour Lyric Theatre Produced by Cirque du Soleil Theatrical Music by Bob & Bill; Co-Composer: Andreas Carlsson; Lyrics by Andreas Carlsson; Musical Director: Seth Stachowski Creative Guide: Jean-François Bouchard; Creative Director: Jean-François Bouchard; Directed by Philippe Decouflé; Associate Creative Director: West Hyler, Shana Carroll and Pascale Henrot; Scene Director: West Hyler; Acrobatic Designer: Shana Carroll; Choreographer: Shana Carroll and Daphné Mauger Scenic Design by Jean Rabasse; Costume Design by Philippe Guillotel; Lighting Design by Patrice Besombes; Sound Design by John Shivers; Projection Design by Olivier Simola and Christophe Waksmann; Hair Design by Josh Marquette; Make-Up Design by Nathalie Gagné; Props Design by Anne-Séguin Poirier President and Managing Director, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical: Scott Zeiger; Executive Producer: Jayna Neagle; General Manager: Bespoke Theatricals Technical Supervisor: David Benken; Production Stage Manager: Claudette Waddle; Stage Manager: Timothy R. Semon Musical Coordinator: Howard Joines; Band Leader: Seth Stachowski; Associate Conductor: James Lutz; Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Alex Bender; Acoustic/Electric Basses: Benjamin Campbell; Drums/Percussion: Benoit Clement; Cello: Louise Dubin; Percussion: Aaron Guidry; Trombone/Bass Trombone: James Lutz; Violin/Mandolin: Paul Woodiel; Keyboard/Guitar/Banjo/Saxophone: Seth Stachowski Acrobatic Casting: Cirque du Soleil Casting; Casting New York: Telsey + Company and Cesar A. Rocha, CSA; General Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Marketing: Kristina Heney; Flying Machine Design and Choreography: Raffaello D'Andrea and Verity Studios; Acrobatic Performance Designer: Boris Verkhovsky; Rigging and Acrobatic Equipment Designer: Pierre Masse; Artistic Director/Acrobatic Coach: Eric Heppell; Dance Captain: Bruce Weber Cast Jeremy Kushnier A.J. Golden Ruby Lewis Broadway debut Indigo James Ryan Vona Joey Green Kat Cunning Broadway debut Lila Sarah MeParamour MUSICALORIGINAL LYRIC THEATRE 213 W. 42ND ST. Jeremy Kushnier A.J. Ruby Lewis Broadway debut Indigo Ryan Vona Joey Tom Ammirati Broadway debut Andrew Atherton Broadway debut Kevin Atherton Broadway debut Lee Brearley Broadway debut Yanelis Brooks Broadway debut Sam Charlton Broadway debut Martin Charrat Broadway debut Nate Cooper Broadway debut Katrina Cunningham Broadway debut Myriam Deraiche Broadway debut Kyle Driggs Broadway debut Jeremias Faganel Broadway debut Amber Fulljames Broadway debut Steven Trumon Gray Broadway debut Tomasz Jadach Broadway debut Rafal Kaszubowski Broadway debut Reed Kelly Denis Kibenko Broadway debut Joe McAdam Broadway debut Raven McRae Sarah Meahl Broadway debut Amber J. Merrick Broadway debut Sheridan Mouawad Broadway debut Amber Pickens Broadway debut Justin Prescott Fletcher Blair Sanchez Broadway debut Matthieu Sennacherib Broadway debut Bret Shuford Blakely Slaybaugh Broadway debut Sam Softich Broadway debut Amiel Soicher Broadway debut Amber van Wijk Broadway debut Bruce Weber Broadway debut Tomasz Wilkosz Broadway debut Produced by Cirque du Soleil Theatrical Music by Bob & Bill; Lyrics by Bob & Bill; Co-Composer: Andreas Carlsson Directed by Philippe Decouflé; Choreographed by Daphné Mauger; Scene Director: West Hyler; Acrobatic Choreographer: Shana Carroll Creative Guide: Jean-François Bouchard; Scenic Design by Jean Rabasse; Costume Design by Philippe Guillotel; Lighting Design by Patrice Besombes; Sound Design by John Shivers; Projection Design by Olivier Simola and Christophe Waksmann; Make-Up Design by Nathalie Gagné Acrobatic Performance Designer: Boris Verkhovsky; Rigging and Acrobatic Equipment Designer: Pierre Masse; Associate Creative Director: Pascale Henrot and West Hyler; Casting - Montreal: Pavel Kotov; Casting - New York: Telsey + Company; Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown

The story though is secondary because it really serves to move us from performance to performance. Cirque du Soleil knows its audience is there to watch acrobats, tumblers, jugglers, and gymnasts. Paramour also, features several sequences where the musical becomes a “live-film”. Camera men follow the performers and screens built into and around the stage show performances as if they were on film but they aren’t all prepackaged shots. In all but a few situations they shoot the moments live and add special effects, technicolor or rotoscoping into the live scene as you watch it happen. The effect is often extremely fascinating, although in some instances it feels like it goes on for too long or isn’t utilized in the best possible way.

There are moments when the combination of musical and circus really work well together like in AJ’s dream sequence or the performance of Love Triangle. The reason these elements work is that the circus performers and the main performers are on stage together and no one has to get out of each other’s way. Everyone shines in their capacities as singers, acrobats, aerialists and trapeze artists. These pieces highlight what I was hoping to get from the majority of the show which suffers from the separation of song and circus.

Photo: PARAMOUR on Broadway - A Cirque du Soleil Musical; Cast: Indigo: Ruby Lewis A.J.: Jeremy Kushnier Joey: Ryan Vona B-Roll video shoot photographed: Monday, May 2, 2016; 10:30 AM at the Lyric Theatre/Broadway, New York; Photograph: © 2016 RICHARD TERMINE PHOTO CREDIT - RICHARD TERMINE

This is a production that based on its reputation promises spectacle. I went with someone who’d never seen Cirque du Soleil before. They were very happy to see the circus acts and less impressed with the musical numbers except for the incredible voice of Ruby Lewis. Not that the men in Paramour aren’t exceptional singers but there are a few showcase moments for the power of Ruby’s voice and she is incredible.

Should you see Paramour? I think there are some fantastic elements to this show. The spectacle of the piece is where it shines and audiences will find themselves cheering during aerial ballet and quadruple flip somersaults. It works best when the music and circus work together. That said the songs won’t live with you forever. The story is not world changing but Ruby Lewis is a standout in her Broadway premiere and I think she’ll become a Broadway star.

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If you are in the Tri-State area in October, Cirque du Soleil is bringing their Steampunk themed show Kurios to Randall’s Island. I look forward to being able to attend that show and discuss it when I get to see it.

  • Mr. Khon

Mr. Khon

Our own version of The Illusive Man, Mr. Khon's identity is kept secret until he sells a screenplay. Once that happens, he's taking us all to the big time.

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