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Posts tagged ‘Edges’

No. 199 : Joyful VOICES’ Newest Groupie, C’est Moi


I had the opportunity to attend an electrifying vocal concert in Paris last weekend.

As you have probably gathered, I love the performing arts and I try to support my children, my friends, and my friends’ children whenever possible. Last Friday was no exception, but it turned out to be exceptional.

Late as usually, I zoomed down to the Marais to support my friend Andrea in her new choral home: VOICES Choir International. And, boy, am I glad I did. Aside from Button’s run in Pasek and Paul’s EDGES last spring, this was the most inspiring and glee-inducing performance I have seen in France.

VOICES Choir International has been around since 1989 and is headed up by the dynamic Bonnie Woolley, an American vocalist and choral director, who exudes the kind of passion and love for her craft that is almost disarming in the often serious world of choral music. Her smile and wit (even en français) is contagious. With her are 40 talented singers from around the globe who give their all. Their repertoire consists mainly of Negro Spirituals and popular and contemporary Anglo-Saxon music. On Friday, it was dedicated exclusively to Spirituals.

I have never seen a group of musicians enjoy themselves and each other so much. I sat there thinking, “Is this much fun legal?” Together in song, they made it impossible for the audience to sit still. I was reminded of the few times I have attended a Baptist church service in the South. They just needed some fabulously bright and ribboned Sunday hats, and I could have been sitting in the pew with my dear friend Sarah in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Do you know the saying: “Live like there is no tomorrow. Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one can hear you. Laugh like no one is listening.”

Well VOICES does all of the above, but amplified.

I’m not sure if the Spirit moves them, but JOY certainly does.


Look them up the next time you are in Paris or the next time you need to smile and remember the good. You’ll be delighted you did.

No: 126: American Musical Theatre LIVE!

source: AMT Live! Paris

source: AMT Live! Paris

Our family life in Paris would not be the same without the joyful, dedicated and exciting organization: American Musical Theatre LIVE! Truly, they have been a lifesaver and creative safe-haven for my two daughters, in a city where this type of artistic expression is only beginning to get a foothold.

Raised by a jolly, crooning father and theatre loving mother, I grew up addicted to American musicals. While most of my peers were crushing on Bobby Sherman and David (and Sean) Cassidy, I was pining for Gene Kelly in his tight sailor jazz pants. Don’t even get me started on Yul Brynner in the King and I. Even today two of my favorite performers are Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris not because I like them in Wolverine and How I Met Your Mother, but because, at heart, they are truly song-and-dance men.

Not surprisingly, I have passed my love of musical theatre on to Kitcat and Button. Before her second birthday, Kitcat  had memorized Madonna’s Evita, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina…really. And, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but by the time they were 8 and 5, they could sing the entire Cell Block Tango from Chicago with all the passion and anger of the original cast. At 10 and 7 they were regularly performing the Elephant Love Song Medley from Moulin Rouge for family and guests. So is it any surprise they are both actively pursuing their dreams of performing on Broadway or the West End?

Thankfully for both of them, but especially Button, we stumbled upon American Musical Theatre LIVE! on our second go-around in Paris. Co-founded by Miranda Crispin and John Florencio, two amazing artists and performers with a passion for American Musical Theatre, AMT LIVE! has been a godsend. They are the place to see contemporary off-Broadway musicals and cabaret concerts in Paris. And if you have the gumption and talent, they offer a musical theatre open mic soirées once a month. They are also available for professional, private coaching.

The group’s mission “is to introduce and promote musical theatre, notably contemporary works, and to provide a forum for exchange between French and international performers.” It’s a great mission and one they work extremely hard at accomplishing.

AMT LIVE! regularly hosts talented and highly regarded Artists-in-Residence from around the world. Button has been fortunate enough to participate in several, the most exceptional being a master class with Tony nominated Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Edges, A Christmas Story, the Musical; Dogfight, and James and the Giant Peach, A Musical). She was also cast in AMT LIVE!’s production of Edges in Paris last summer. It was a life changing experience and yet one more thing to love about our time in France.

The Premiere of EDGES in France, AMT Live!

The Premiere of EDGES in France, AMT Live!