By Cecilia Winegar
A riot of color, quirkiness, and pure fun, “Amelie” was the perfect escape. Starring Phillipa Soo, the show tells the story of a young woman who seeks to better the lives of others, and makes a discovery about her own life in the process. The show is absolutely beautiful, certainly one of the most charming shows I have seen.Credit: JUCO
Phillipa Soo, who plays Amelie, is an absolute treasure, and a joy to watch on stage. From “The Great Comet of 1812” to “Hamilton” and now to “Amelie”, she is one of Broadway’s rising stars. She was positively perfect for the role, and she adds dynamic and intensity to every moment she is on stage. She portrays the character flawlessly, and when she sings, you feel transported into Amelie’s mind. Amelie is a more comedic character, very different compared to the other roles that Soo has played, but she still brings just right amount of fun and love to the role. She was no doubt the best part of the entire show.Credit: JOAN MARCUS
Adam Chanler-Berat, Phillipa Soo’s co-star, plays Nino, a photo collector, who falls in love with Amelie. He too was well-cast, and his voice was well-crafted to the music. His imitation of the character was excellent. However his performance was very different from Phillipa Soo’s because Nino does not go through the same personal journey that Amelie does. Most known from “Next to Normal” this show was a pleasant change from his past work in a more serious show, and he played the happy-go-lucky character of Nino perfectly.
The rest of the show was just as well cast as Phillipa Soo. With a roughly 11 people in total, each actor/actress, was chosen with the utmost care, and it shows. Most of the cast plays multiple roles and the same level of energy and vigor is brought to each character. While the size of the cast may be small, each and every one of them packs a punch with the portrayal of each role.
The setting of the stage was very interesting, with a raised bridge above a series of doors up and down the walls of the stage. For me, it is always interesting to look at the beginning set up of the stage before the show, and then over the course of the show see how they use that stage to tell the story. It was the same with “Amelie”. The sets were very simple, yet there were just enough to tell the story as needed. They were built perfectly for the show, and they added to the wonder.
The costuming was also very simple. Amelie remains in her signature red shirt and skirt, and Nino in his army green jacket. With the large number of characters throughout the show, there also many costumes, and while each one is very simple, each one captures the dynamic and personal flair of each role. While no costume in particular stands out, it is still very easy to tell the characters apart based on how their personalities match their style of dress. It is all very aesthetically pleasing.Credit: JOAN MARCUS
The actual plotline follows that of the 2005 movie “Amelie”. It echoed the story of the movie as closely as possible, and the result was a fun-loving show. Amelie herself is very quirky; she’s an introvert, she has her own ideas, and she believes that it’s perfectly ok to be a dreamer in a world of thinkers. The show does a very good job of using the simplicity of the show to focus on the personal journey that Amelie goes on, and it really brings the audience in.Credit: JOAN MARCUS
The musical score was very interesting. While music was not particularly riveting compared to other shows I have seen, some of the songs were deeply moving – my personal favorite being “Stay”, when Amelie finally realizes she wants to live her own life and not the lives of others. The music transports you into Amelie’s world just like the sets, costumes, and characters do. The show is looked at from an outside perspective, but when Amelie sings, you get that little look into her mind, and see what she’s thinking, and the music captures all of the emotions that Amelie is feeling beautifully.
“Amelie” was a joy to have the opportunity to see. The plot is boisterous and full of life, and although straightforward, every moment is just pure delight. Phillipa Soo is a dream come true to watch on stage, and I could rave about her sheer talent and glorious voice all day. “Amelie” was the perfect escape from an otherwise upside down world, and I enjoyed every minute of it. If you are looking for a show that completely transports you away from everything stressful in your life, “Amelie” is the perfect show for you, and you will find yourself walking away from the theater in absolute bliss.
Editor’s note: We received two complimentary tickets to see Amelie. Opinions are all the author’s. The show announced it is closing on May 21st, so hurry to get your chance to see Phillipa Soo and the cast!
Author: Cecilia Winegar is a high school freshman and passionate about musical theater. She has performed in student productions of Aladdin (Iago), The Music Man (Farmer’s Wife), The Wiz (The Wiz) and Legally Blonde (Judge, Harvard Student).