An American in Paris in Madison

Wednesday, February 28th

Jonathan and Kitty chat with Scott Willis from An American in Paris at Overture Hall. You won't believe who he performed with in the past! (Hint: It's fun to stay at the YMCA).


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

It's Jonathan in kitty in the morning here 1055 triple M and a fan have really show happening an overture hall it's An American in Paris. And that kitty and I both saw the show and we got one of the actors to come in the guy who drew the short straw. To come into our program is Scott Willis and he plays so if you haven't seen the show yet he plays a must here. Burrell that I do then that's you okay. And before we get any your character in some Doug digging we've done and you on I hope we'll get an of that ahead first of all I didn't realize when I went to show and Kia I don't know if you did that. There's it's ballet that there's so much ballet I'd fiction of being like just a regular song and dance. Yes well you know the movie is famous sort of the final ballet wreck and this production is directed and choreographed by. A world renowned ballet choreographer. Chris you know what's really great about. What's going on in ballet right now is there are a lot of new young talented deep choreographers and Chris is is one of the foremost to you know. In the world. And he's making it more isn't it our show is not about two twos and crowns and princesses it's about. Five young people trying to find love and a new life in Paris right after the war. And it's told primarily through movement and through dance. And Chris is ballet is sexy it's contemporary. I'm if you know his work you can pretty much spot a ballet that he's choreographed because it's specific to his sense of humor. And talent it's yeah it's very different. None now we have. In New York we would have to us and so many people come to the stage door after the show was over old and kids who who just they would say I didn't know that I liked ballet right now I like ballet I started going to ballet about about nine years ago and I look forward to ballet season every year so. This shows it kind of campaign combines everything. That I love and I actually I wasn't familiar with chris' work and now. I've gone to that'd opening of his new nutcracker in Chicago and I'll go anywhere to see his work is that I think is really terrific. And you talk about all the movement we're talking a scout Willis who's An American in Paris which is that an overture hall right now. Tickets I hope I think there's maybe still a few tickets available but it's it's such a popular show its won so many Tonys you talk about movement right at the beginning kitty and I both were saying how we're blown away. Right is it starts. There's just so much not even just with the dancers but with all the sets that are moving out and how people don't end up smashing a shot and there's a lot of things happen and I it's it's what. Probably the most beautiful show I've ever been apart Avant and Christmas very specific with our designers. About the fact that he wanted to to have a bare stage you know when you go to the theater now there's a lot of spectacle. And so a lot of those autumn you know I recently. Did the musical Priscilla which had a million dollar bus that moved all around the sting more than did Emanuel met. Bay you know I he didn't wide tracks and I any autumn automation tracks on the stage because. We have girls in Pointe shoes they make their living in Pointe shoes they're not Broadway dancers that are trying to do ballet these. I dancers are world class dancers on everyone's been handpicked either because they are Broadway Show girls or they. Have done in. They've worked in dance companies all over the world so it's a very high level of dancing and I think that's surprises to its. It's also another thing to see not so great ballet. As compared to really good dancer. So it's absolutely we're talking a scout Willis now you're on the original on Broadway right yes hmmm so. Traveling with that it is it a different vibe once or is it feel the same or can you compare them. Feels very much the same the production that he'll see. It's. Is it is almost exactly what we have on Broadway. We premiered the show impala inept Paris before we went to Broadway. And worked out a lot of kinks the sets were much heavier than everything was built in Paris. The costumes were designed in Paris and I'm by an award winning. Designer from London. And but they were built in. Couture house is some of the women's clothes were are gorgeous and arms are their. My. Barely got that technical term yes that's how can we say that I'm really (%expletive) up. Yeah I know that's Milo she's got some that she's got a variety of beautiful costumes my wife I'd teary. Hansen where's a beautiful we call the lobster dress on which was inspired from. A picture that Bob Crowley our designer sob now from the period. On the anyway so all the kinks because we do and move set pieces we actually danced set pieces and all around the states in addition to dancing it's a very heavy dance show bled to we do a lot of we facilitate almost everything seemed likely to. So. All the kinks that word difficult in the beginning have been worked out and and that and what we have here on tour is some of the stuff that we had a Broadway though. You return to scout Willis about American in Paris and overture hall it started in Paris I wondered I would think you wonder if like regions would be ended this it'd be like. C'mon dude I don't know was hit but it did well Barack Obama mailer. We were really nervous because basically. First all of them we are not doing the movie bit if you loved the movie I think you still love. The stage show because it pays tribute to the movie without being the movie. I think about it. The movie with a produced it was produced five years after the war and at the time no one really wanted to talk about the war. So the movie was really an excuse for word Gene Kelly to dance too beautiful Gershwin music. But a few of the things that are maybe hinted at in the movie. We're able to explore further so there's a little there is quite a bit more depth to the stage version than the movie. And we were little we were nervous at how. Regions or the French. Would take our lookup on their lives after the war. And they absolutely loved it. We you couldn't get a ticket IA and I have since I met a lovely French woman from Normandy at the Stage Stores in New York. Who couldn't get a ticket in Paris and she lived a block away. And she was in New York with a follow up first surgery. And she is like is that the same show and she. Just couldn't believe how old the show made her feel like she was back in Paris and experiencing the feelings. Of what it was like after the war because our show. The timeframe. Is that it happens right after the occupation and the movie is a bit later kind of it's questionable when it actually happens. But these young people have found themselves in Paris immediately following the occupation. And its twin art totally exploded music and art and fashion. And everything became free in Paris. Got her soul back again and we tried to explore that and I think they really appreciated patent and we got it right to. Absolutely I saw an American impairs happening over child but Scott Willis before we let you go. How close things when they did a little bit on palm. So when you were a kid I read that you had always put on shows in your house sinuous like me peace they curtains in her mom would sell lemonade with that got a real story. I mom did not sell lemonade Wii is so now OK okay. She might have make pill and did that yes no no no no I am I would directed all these you know Bloomberg the burial of my hamster. Is still one of them might. Greatest performances. Are up any of everyone in the neighborhood cay island and a neighborhood called sunny Nixon. Who wouldn't come to a kids show announcement from neighbor critical slimming them with the scenario the hamster for you played out Sarah plus certain radio city music and order so. Is that. I don't know what's out. I love actually I went to see a production of tuck everlasting yesterday here in town because one of my rockettes now lives in Madison. And it was a dream come true I actually did that to the tour for twelve years in many different cities. And it was something I always wanted to do but the guy that plays Santa in New York has been there for 37 years and I actually did my very first professional show with Charlie. Where Charles says he likes them. And yet to get to work with the rock cats. And two to be NM multi million dollars. Spectacular show like that was great and I love the challenge. Of being Santa Claus because Santa means. Something different to every want and to try to be that Santa for every child and every adult in the audience is the challenge and sometimes magical things happen and that's what you aspire for every time you step on stage it doesn't always happen. That there are those magical moments that make it all. A joy. Since beginning magical moments hole and I got to throw in one more thing and that is that I heard you were once. Did you do stuff with the Village People I got to imagine any idea as to what what's Alabama are you not I. There is crazy because I was in Seattle being Santa Claus at the time and the manager of the Village People called and said hey. Would you have any interest in covering the Village People knowing that you were gonna go on and I was like. My life is simple crazy. If I only I'm sad I'm sad and somebody's Tommy to be the leather man. 'cause like. Really as like if I only do once that's of course older and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to learn. Even though they've been together for thirty years. They had no lead sheets or they didn't have lead sheets for the show they actually do they would like give me the music of the song that it was label but that's this isn't what you do. Yeah I show. And the I'd say likes we in learning the choreography had tape so is that can come Mike Ford never really really up just started from the getting and they'd be. You have and we'd like to I'm YMCA and I'm trying to learn all of that without like you know you when you're a dancer like AM. I'm usually learn things then eight count sixteen and 32 but they don't just put on them because they can you just do it. There is really hard please tell me there's video. I have videos of my rehearsals so that I could learn the stuff OK that's your you know but no but the funny thing is that an idea I only did it once. And I was the weatherman and you know they came to me it's it's so silly do you have a do you have like some some closure because this with. I do legend I don't know. Yeah I did she ask. I had some black boots and I got a really great teacher may be glad it's you know everything was loaned to me and win the thing was over because there are. What are there three or four original members. Maybe. That they're great guys so I had so much night. During the show the cowboys like dance peasants like you look like you're really having fun with Jack. Pocket and everybody. Unloaded all those people you know. So fantastic CR Willis thank you so much for coming go see American impairs an overture hall and when Scott takes is Bausch shout out leatherman. Apparently they did so much Scott thank you from.