‘Amélie': Magical Film Frolics on Stage

Travel to Paris by way of the Ahmanson via this twinkly musical treat.

While it can't be denied that peppermint and cocoa and orange and cloves are in the air, there's something else in the ether that can't be as easily detected, at least not via the nose: magical realism.

December is a twinkly time of year that's traditionally threaded with whimsy of the elevate-the-spirit sort, but whimsy isn't always about fantastical characters, like snowmen.

Real people can find magic in the everyday world. Look to the LA-lovin' "La La Land" and look to the packed-with-sparkle show officially debuting at the Ahmanson Theatre on Friday, Dec. 16.

It's "Amélie, a New Musical," and it indeed finds its movie muse in the 2001 film "Amélie," a work rich in good deeds, garden gnomes, and missed connections of the heart-tuggingest sort.

Tony nominee Phillipa Soo, the incandescent Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton from the original cast of "Hamilton," is Amélie, a Paris-based adventurer who finds delight in the littlest things and magic in the city, and souls, around her. 

Describing the characer of Amélie Poulain as gamine isn't nearly the whole story, for while she is shyly spunky and increasingly game, her most commendable quality is her ability to connect with a stranger while selflessly improving the stranger's lot.

A coterie of plucky Parisians lend her journey to burnish the worlds of her neighbors, and her own path, make the story even more merry.


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True, the movie was not a musical, but prepare to enjoy ditties from Daniel Messé, Nathan Tysen, and a book by Craig Lucas. If you dug the flick but long for an added dimension of sound and story, the on-stage spectacular could be just the whipped cream you've longed for to top this dessert-like story.

But "dessert-like story" shouldn't imply that "Amélie, a New Musical" is frothy with no nutritional value. Au contraire: The show's message of reaching out, of connection, and of taking meaningful chances is something all magical realists can grok to, whether it is December or not.

By the by, the hue-bright, happy-bringing presentation is on at the Ahmanson through Jan. 15, 2017.

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