Broadway au Carré – Dana Levinson was performed at Comédie Nation, Paris.
Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩
Lisandro Nesis, organiser of the Parisian evenings Broadway au Carré, has a knack for finding American composers with deep, rich repertories. The latest artist in the spotlight was Dana Levinson.
Encore! Dana Levinson & Friends introduced the writer’s work to Paris, while there were inspirational comments from Nesis and exchanges between the composer and the audience.
From a highly political family, and having studied political science herself, Levinson commented on how she had been affected by the global events of the last two years, the events of which had given her a lot to write about. Her works spring to life from the music she writes, adding the lyrics only later.
Levinson was able to present her two big musical works, Madame (the semi-personal story of a transgender person) and 5th Republic (about an Algerian refugee), performed touchingly by Axel Alvarez (Cats) and Kaïna Blada (Aladdin), accompanied by Mathieu Serradell on the accordion and Meta Kheniche on the drums. Playing the oud (an oriental guitar) was Levinson herself.
Marion Preïté, treating the audience to a rendition of her song ‘Encore!’, also joined the artists on stage, as did the Brit, Scott Royle.
The other guests, Bastien Jacquemart and Manon Taris, as well as Serradell at the piano and on the accordion, weren’t told about the programme ahead of time because they were supposed to be at Théâtre Mogador for the premiere of The Phantom of the Opera (now delayed).
We were lucky to have them, because the best moment of the evening was Taris’ rendition of ‘When You Have Heart’, a song composed especially for her by Levinson in a MuseMatch (‘a musical theatre blind date collaboration, where composers are paired with singers they don’t know and are asked to share their deepest, personal joys and fears; and make a song together’).
The emotion on stage was palpable throughout, leading to a an open mic session for Broadway show tunes hosted by Taris and Nesis.
The next instalment of Broadway au Carré takes place on 10 November. In the cast of Love, Always by Michael Cooper (directed by by the talented Stéphane Ly-Cuong) are Dalia Constantin (Beauty and the Beast, Bons Baisers de Broadway) and Alexandre-Jérôme Boulard (The Poupée Sanglante), with the virtuoso John Florencio taking care of the musical direction.
Don’t miss it, especially as Cooper and Bill Connington, who wrote the book, will be in Paris for the occasion.