As one season ends, Paris is already preparing its stages to welcome one of the most exciting season since a long time. For once, musical theatre lovers will get a special treat this year, with plenty of much-awaited productions. The triumph of Notre Dame De Paris seems to have opened a path for French-produced musicals. The prestigious Folies Bergere will start the season with the stage version of the classic Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, now renamed Sept Filles Et Sept Garçons (Seven Girls And Seven Boys). This production will be staged by Italian director Saverio Marconi and will star pop singer and actress Lio in the role created on screen by Jane Powell. Marconi’s previous French experience was the 1997 Nine starring Jerome Pradon.
Starting Sept. 26 will be the French premiere of Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles. Alain Marcel (Kiss Me, Kate, Little Shop Of Horrors, Peter Pan...) has adapted the lyrics and will direct a flamboyant cast led by Patrick Rocca and Bernard Alane as Zaza and Georges. Rocca has been an impressive Javert during the 1991 Paris production of Les Miserables. Alane has been a long-time collaborator of Alain Marcel and has also worked in international productions (notably with director Christopher Renshaw who directed the Broadway revival of The King & I).
The triumphant Notre Dame De Paris will return to the stage of the Palais des Congres with a new cast and it seems like the show is already sold out. The ever successful Starmania will also return to the Casino de Paris to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Both shows have lyrics by French-Canadian Luc Plamondon.
German producer Wolfgang Bocksch will bring a Grease directed by Davild Gilmore (who has staged the current West End revival of Grease). This production -- as with all Bocksch’s shows -- will be performed in English. As for Stomp, no need to understand English. This successful urban show will be back in Paris again this fall.
Divas seem to love Paris, too. The Opera Comique offered its stage to Julia Migenes last June. In December, comes the time of Chicago diva Ute Lemper. The merry murderess has always been popular in France since her outstanding debut in the Paris production of Cabaret in 1987. Her show, called De Weimar a Paris (From Weimar To Paris), will feature a repertoire of songs ranging from Weill, Prevert and Piaf to Kander and Ebb. As the season ends in June 2000, Paris will get back to its roots with a much needed revival of Irma la Douce, one of the rare French musicals to have crossed the seas with success. Jerome Savary will direct, but the leading lady is still being sought. Savary was the one who revealed Lemper to French audiences twelve years ago; will he come up with a new diva to be ?
Many new musicals projects seem to be in the works for the next millennium. If the trend keeps going, the City of Lights might as well become a musical theatre city... some day.
For tickets and information for Sept Filles Et Sept Garçons at the Folies Bergere, call (33) 1 44 79 98 98, starts Sept. 14; Stomp at La Cigale, call (33) 808 815 803, starts Sept. 14; La Cage Aux Folles at the Theatre Mogador, call (33) 1 53 32 32 00, starts Sept. 27; Starmania at the Casino de Paris, call (33) 1 49 95 99 99, starts Oct. 22; Grease at the Palais des Sports, call (33) 1 40 68 69 70, starts Nov. 4; Ute Lemper’s De Weimar A Paris at the Opera Comique, phone to come, runs Dec . 3-16; Notre Dame De Paris at the Palais des Congres, call (33) 1 40 68 00 05, starts Feb. 15, 2000;Irma la Douce at the Theatre National de Chaillot, call (33) 1 53 65 30 00, runs Apr. 20-July 1, 2000.
-- By Stephane Ly-Cuong