Category Archive for: ‘Kedar K. Adour’

AMELIA at Berkeley Rep is ready for Broadway

At Berkeley Rep, award-winning actress Samantha Barks as Amélie with the cast ofAmélie, A New Musical, a world premiere based on the Academy Award-nominated film. Photo courtesy of Kevinberne.com

At Berkeley Rep, award-winning actress Samantha Barks as Amélie with the cast of Amélie, A New Musical, a world premiere based on the Academy Award-nominated film.
Photo courtesy of Kevinberne.com

AMÉLIE, A NEW MUSICAL. Book by Craig Lucas. Music by Daniel Messé. Lyrics by Nathan Tysen & Daniel Messé. Directed by Pam MacKinnon. Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison Street @ Shattuck Berkeley, CA. (510) 647-2949 or www.berkeleyrep.org. September 11- October 4, 2015.

EIGHT PERFORMANCES ADDED – NOW PLAYING THRU OCT 11

Rating: ★★★★★

AMELIA at Berkeley Rep is ready for Broadway

Once again Berkeley Rep has mounted a world premiere production that has the ear marks of being Broadway bound. The previous two that made it to the big time are In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) (Sarah Ruhl 2009) and the Green Day 2009 musical American Idiot. This time the marvelous feel-good 2001 French movie Amélie: The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet that won numerous awards is the stimulus for the musical.

In the movie French Gamine Audrey Tautou starred as Amélie the introverted waitress who becomes the savoir of those in emotional and physical need in the Montmartre section of Paris. Berkely Rep has imported Samantha Barks who starred as Eponine in Les Miserables on London’s West End. They could not have a better choice.

Taking on a movie that is loaded with masterly camera angles for conversion to the stage requires expertise and that is provided by a top-notch award winning artistic team. The inventive author is Craig Lucas the creator of the imaginative Prelude to a Kiss. His musical lyricists are Daniel Messe with world-wide acclaim and the promising co-lyricist Nathan Tyson. All three worked in unison with director Pam MacKinnon. The result is charming, dream-like, brilliantly acted and staged musical that brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation.

The story revolves around Amelie’s secret adventures in Montmartre sublimating her own loneliness while making others happy. Before the end of the musical she does find a soul-mate in Nino (Adam Chanler-Berat) an aspiring artist who has been piecing together torn photographs of the same man taken at Photomats. Most of the vignettes in the movie are incorporated into the musical with the storyline often being told in song.

It starts with Amélie’s upbringing in isolation and home schooling by her germ phobic father (John Hickok) and esoteric intellectual mother (Allison Cimmet) with only a goldfish as a pet. The goldfish becomes a puppet as it lays on the floor dying and conversing with young Amélie (Savvy Crawford). Many of the cast play double roles and puppets are introduced adding bits of humor.

Much of the action involves the denizens who frequent the Cafe Des Deux Moulins where Amélie works. They include an unpublished poet Hipoloto (Randy Blair), airline hostess (Allison Cimmet ), love starved Joseph (Paul Whitty ), hypochondriac Georgette (Alyse Alan Louis), ex-trapeze artist with allergies (Maria-Christina Oliveras), sassy Gina (Carla Duran), the painter Dufayel (Tony Sheldon) who paints the same copy of Renoir each year. Dufayel becomes an integral cog in Amelie’s transformation.

Samantha Barks is perfect for the role both as an actor and a singer and Adam Chanler-Berat is a fine match for her. Their final duet sung between a closed door is a gem. You will not be humming any of the tunes when you leave the theater but the music is mesmerizing. The staging is a marvel of skewed external and internal facades with moveable set pieces allowing director MacKinnon to keep the pace vibrant. She is aided by a fine eight piece orchestra situated, unseen until the curtain call behind a scrim.

The running time is one hour and 45 minutes without an intermission and is a must see production.

Featuring: David Andino (Blind Beggar/Garden Gnome), Samantha Barks (Amélie), Randy Blair (Hipoloto), Adam Chanler-Berat (Nino), Alison Cimmet (Amandine/Philomene), Savvy Crawford (Young Amélie), Carla Duren (Gina), John Hickok (Raphael/Bretodeaux), Alyse Alan Louis (Georgette), Maria-Christina Oliveras (Suzanne), Tony Sheldon (Dufayel/Collignon), Perry Sherman (Lucien), Paul Whitty (Joseph), Shannon O’Boyle (Swing), Jacob Keith Watson (Swing), Kimberly Grigsby (Conductor, Keyboards), Dana Bauer (Woodwinds), Kathy Marshall (Violin), Vanessa Ruotolo (Cello), Wendy Tamis (Harp), Schuyler McFadden (Guitar), Allen Biggs (Percussion), Richard Duke (Bass), Kevin Porter (Contractor).

Creative team: David Zinn (scenic and costume designer), Jane Cox (lighting designer), Kai Harada (sound designer), Peter Nigrini (projection designer), Kimberly Grigsby and Daniel Messé (vocal arrangers), and Bruce Coughlin (orchestrator). Musical direction by Kimberly Grigsby. Musical staging and choreography by Sam Pinkleton

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com.

At Berkeley Rep, award-winning actress Samantha Barks as Amélie with the cast ofAmélie, A New Musical, a world premiere based on the Academy Award-nominated film.

Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com

Samantha Barks as Amélie and Adam Chanler-Berat as Nino in the world premiere of Amélie, A New Musical, based on the Academy Award-nominated film.

Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com