Although Playbill On-Line announced the opening of the first French production of the Bernstein Sondheim-Laurents-Robbins musical ( Little Shop and West Side Come to Paris, Dec. 26, Feb. 4 ), no agreement has yet been signed between the French production and Bernstein's representatives.
Michel Cadeau, president of Harmonie Majeure Productions, told Playbill On-Line that booking hasn't started and no official announcement can be made regarding the opening date. The previously announced dates of Feb. 4 to 7 were tentative previews dates that will hopefully lead to a national tour and a longer Paris engagement around Christmas time, 1998. However, no professional rehearsal or advertising campaign for the French production have begun.
Playbill On-Line International Correspondents have recently reported Spanish productions of West Side Story in Madrid and Mexico City, as well as a Chinese one in Beijing. But the classic musical has never been performed in France by a French company, and it would be great if that premiere could happen on the 40th anniversary year of the Broadway creation. The original production, staring Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence and Chita Rivera, opened on Broadway on Sept. 26, 1957.
This French production would preserve Bernstein's original orchestrations and Robbins' famous choreography. Sondheim's witty lyrics would be preserved too and sung in English. Only the dialogues would be translated into French. Furthermore, this production would be based on the original stage version of the musical. By preserving the integrity of the original production of West Side Story, Cadeau wants to pay tribute to this classic show and to the musical genre in itself.
Recent musical productions have proved that an incredible pool of talented performers are available in Paris and that audiences are in demand for more stage musicals. Cadeau's wish with this production is to give the French audiences the opportunity to see a classic musical hit, to feature talented young French performers and to open a new door for more musical productions in France. -- By Stephane Ly-Cuong