Fifty Million Frenchies Kissing a lot of Frogs: Cultural Exchanges and Community
In May of 2013, high school Marion was just discovering The Last Five Years and was very sad that she would probably never see a production of it. She cast one last glance at the wikipedia page and shrieked: she had just discovered that a Paris production was planned two months later. For the purpose of the narration, we’ll say it was destiny.
This is how I discovered American Musical Theater Live.
High school Marion started to jump everywhere, booked tickets, went on looking through the website and registered for a masterclass that same summer. There, she went on to meet a lot of impressive professional singers, felt very shy and would be forever ashamed to have messed up the lyrics of “Stars and the Moon” in front of so many talented people. In this whole bunch of musical theatre freaks were two people who now are really important names in the Paris musical theatre scene and who I would like to introduce to you shortly in this article: Miranda Crispin and Lisandro Nesis.
Miranda Crispin is the artistic director and co-founder of the organisation AMT Live. She has also worked as a performer, a vocal coach, and probably thousands of other jobs on different productions, like so many musical theatre people do. AMT Live is an organisation that promotes new American musical theatre in Paris. It has produced new shows like Edges, Songs for a New World and Next Thing You Know. It organises masterclasses with amazing people and different kind of workshops. It also organizes musical theatre lessons and open mics on a boat in the Seine (the kind of place that even a Paris-hater like myself can’t help but find beautiful). It also promotes cultural exchange between Paris artists and British and American artists. To put it in a nutshell, AMT Live members do an amazing job at making Paris a wonderful place for musical theatre lovers. And they have already achieved all that in only… 3 years.
Lisandro Nesis is the founder and host of the “Broadway au Carré” evenings (and also a baroque singer). Broadway au Carré is a series of monthly shows that include an open mic, a concert by an artist and the presentation of a new musical theatre writer, who sometimes come to Paris for the occasion. Those shows started the fall right after the master class I told you about and has been a huge success. Broadway au Carré ended up also producing other new musical theatre shows like Island Songs and Ordinary Days.
So now, Paris has everything musical theatre lovers could wish for. Open mics, cultural exchange, amazing shows, classes, but most of all, a sense of community.
In May of 2015, I have moved to Germany but when I go back to Paris, I never miss the chance to go to AMT Live and Broadway au Carré open mics (and only there because I never seem to be in France for any other events). There, I discover practically thousands of new songs, find out that a girl from my high school is also into Musical Theatre, sing some German musical songs, have passionate conversations with strangers, and listen to other fantastic performers. But most of all, I look amazed at the kindness and the talent of all the people in the room, some of them still remembering the girl who messed up the words of “Stars and the Moon.”
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