Amélie, A New Musical
Book by Craig Lucas
Music by Daniel Messé
Lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé
Musical direction by Kimberly Grigsby
Musical staging and choreography by Sam Pinkleton
Directed by Pam MacKinnon
Limited Season · Roda Theatre
August 29–October 18, 2015
Running time: approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, no intermission.
Amélie captured our hearts in the five-time Academy Award-nominated film. Now she comes to the stage in an inventive and captivating new musical directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and penned by Craig Lucas (An American in Paris and Prelude to a Kiss), with a stirring score by Daniel Messé (of the acclaimed band Hem) and lyrics by Nathan Tysen (The Burnt Part Boys) and Messé. Embark on a mesmerizing journey with inquisitive and charmingly shy Amélie (Samantha Barks) as she turns the streets of Montmartre into a world of her own imagining, while secretly orchestrating moments of joy for those around her. After discovering a mysterious photo album and meeting a handsome stranger, she realizes that helping others is easier than concocting a romantic story of her own. After seeing the world through the magical and enchanted eyes of Amélie, you’ll never look at life the same way again.
Craig Lucas · Author
Daniel Messé · Composer / Co-Lyricist / Co-Vocal Arranger
Nathan Tysen · Co-Lyricist
Pam MacKinnon · Director
Kimberly Grigsby · Music Director / Co-Vocal Arranger
Sam Pinkleton · Musical Staging / Choreographer
David Zinn · Scenic & Costume Design
Jane Cox · Lighting Design
Kai Harada · Sound Design
Peter Nigrini · Projection Design
Bruce Coughlin · Orchestrator
Jim Carnahan · Casting
Stephen Kopel · Casting
Bonnie Panson · Stage Manager
Michael Suenkel · Assistant Stage Manager
Patrick Johnson · Assistant Costume Designer
Morgan Green · Assistant Director
Maggie Burke · Assistant Sound Designer
Chloe Treat · Associate Choreographer
Nick Soloyom · Associate Lighting Designer
Meredith Reis · Associate Scenic Designer
David Andino · Blind Beggar / Garden Gnome
Samantha Barks · Amélie
Randy Blair · Hipoloto
Adam Chanler-Berat · Nino
Alison Cimmet · Amandine / Philomene
Savvy Crawford · Young Amélie
Carla Duren · Gina
John Hickok · Raphael / Bretodeaux
Alyse Alan Louis · Georgette
Shannon O’Boyle · Swing
Maria-Christina Oliveras · Suzanne
Tony Sheldon · Dufayel / Collignon
Perry Sherman · Lucien
Jacob Keith Watson · Swing
Paul Whitty · Joseph
Kimberly Grigsby · Conductor / Keyboards
Dana Bauer · Woodwinds
Kathy Marshall · Violin
Vanessa Ruotolo · Cello
Wendy Tamis · Harp
Schuyler McFadden · Guitar
Allen Biggs · Percussion
Richard Duke · Bass
Kevin Porter · Contractor
JoAnn Kane Music / Russell Bartmus · Copyist
“A dreamy movie becomes a dream of a stage musical in Amélie, A New Musical, the blithe experiment in theatrical magic…Wit crackles and charm fills the house, emanating from the book, lyrics and melodies. Director Pam MacKinnon creates a seamless blend of visual, narrative and performance delights. And Samantha Barks inhabits the title role so luminously she might make you forget there was anyone else onstage—if the rest of the cast weren’t perfectly brilliant in turn…Increasingly captivating, starting from nine-year-old Savvy Crawford’s winningly precocious, imaginative and bright-voiced Young Amélie…culminating with…Nino, as played by a magnetic Adam Chanler-Berat, whose bright, vibrant tenor folds lovingly into Barks’ golden tones on their duets…MacKinnon and her designers deploy old- and new-fashioned stagecraft to fantastical ends…Messé and Tysen’s captivating, eclectic and almost always humor-tinged songs keep the show moving at a swift clip, propelled by musical director Kimberly Grigsby’s terrific eight-piece, onstage band…Broadway aspirations seem almost certainly involved. I’d say, go for it.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“It’s impossible not to be charmed by aspects of Daniel Messé and Nathan Tysen’s score and Craig Lucas’ (Prelude to a Kiss, The Light in the Piazza) quirky book…Barks and Chanler-Berat generate more than enough chemistry as the young lovers and their first kiss is beyond precious. It’s almost as cute as Savvy Crawford, who plays young Amélie, swinging her braids as she chats up her doomed pet goldfish, Fluffy.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“Bursts with joy, delight, imagination, talent, and tenderness.”—SF Weekly
“Sparkling musical comedy…slyly revels in the infinite possibilities of theatrical merrymaking. The score…flowers with originality. Barks and Chanler-Berat, both in possession of sterling voices, rise in stature when they sing. The impressive lyric writing of Tysen and Messé made me want to listen harder. The best songs mix outlandish wit with genuine feeling. It’s a credit to the enchantment of the authors and MacKinnon’s production that the storybook ending feels both earned and true.”—Los Angeles Times
Prologue: from the Artistic Director
Twenty years ago, musicals were of no interest to me. Unlike many of my colleagues, who fell in love with the theatre by going to see shows on Broadway at a young age, I never caught the bug. My mother tried to change my mind by doing impressions of Mary Martin in the kitchen, but I remained unconvinced. Something about the style (all that earnest singing!) left me feeling alienated. As I reached my formative years in the ‘60s, my prejudice only increased. The music seemed “canned,” the content trite, and the commercial intent overbearing. I developed a positively arrogant attitude on the subject, something that many of my friends have told me is not limited to my views on musicals.
But things change. Maybe it was because my own generation started to create work that I found relatable, maybe it was the increased use of indigenous music, or maybe the content of musicals began to embrace the complications of the modern world…but somewhere in the ‘90s I began to find the work interesting and then, lo and behold, irresistible. At Berkeley Rep we started producing plays like Polk County, Brundibar, Girlfriend, and American Idiot.
And now we have Amélie. It’s not hard to see what attracted us to this project. The French film (2001) is, in many ways, remarkable. It has a singular narrative and visual style amplified by the swirling movement of the camera and an aggressive editing strategy. There is, thankfully, no way to imitate the movie on stage. More importantly to our minds, a musical version has the ability to capture the romantic heart of the story while re-imagining the visual focus through the eyes of an acting ensemble. In other words, it doesn’t feel forced. Amélie wants to make you sing. And so…
Of course, one needs a large raft of people with imagination, craft, and courage to realize these ambitions. Producers Tara Smith, Aaron Harnick, and Spencer Ross have worked tirelessly with us to bring this project into being. Pam MacKinnon is a masterful director who I’ve wanted to lure to our shores for many years. Esteemed playwright Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss, Blue Window, Reckless) is a longtime friend whom we are truly happy to welcome back. Dan Messé and Nathan Tysen are the men behind the wonderful songs. Choreographer Sam Pinkleton is a natural whirling dervish. And the super-talented ensemble is led by the irrepressible Samantha Barks, whose visa luckily came through as the clock struck midnight. Together we are poised to deliver a new show to you, a musical theatre experience for modern times. We hope it gives you thrills and chills.
Prologue: from the Managing Director
Welcome to Amélie, A New Musical, the first production of our 2015–16 season—one that we’ve been eagerly anticipating. Every year I watch Tony Taccone put together the disparate projects that will eventually coalesce into a season. Each production starts out as an idea unto itself, with its own set of challenges and its own rewards. But as the season begins to come together the individual productions begin to take on some arch, some weird, sometimes mysterious sense of being connected to a larger scheme. There is a moment, usually when the budget is finally balanced and the calendar set in stone, that all seven plays and whatever special events we’ve nailed down all align, and it is suddenly obvious that Tony did, after all, have a plan. What makes this season different may only be the embarrassment of riches.
The 2015–16 season is full of opportunities for surprise: two musicals, a Pulitzer Prize winner about race and identity, a delicate and affecting play about food and memory, an opportunity to showcase a local actress of international renown, a return to a childhood classic with Mary Zimmerman, and a homecoming for director Les Waters with playwright Sarah Ruhl. From where we sit, we’ll be watching how the ideas, the themes, the emotions, and the characters bump into each other, resonate with each other, and contrast or inform each other…Because some of the surprise that comes from seeing a full season of plays is the experience of seeing the mashup that they create when they are seen as a whole.
And when you subscribe to all seven plays, you save over the single ticket prices. Additional discounts are also available for the under-30 crowd as well as for educators. In some cases, the savings will be more than 50 percent off the single ticket value. We also offer a five-play package, or you can even create your own subscription of three or more plays. In addition, subscribers can exchange their seats as many times as necessary, without an exchange fee—we understand that life gets busy, after all.
So, enjoy Amélie. And then come back for more! We’d love to see you again and again and again!
The reincarnation of story
Why a film like Amélie wants life in a different form
By Madeleine Oldham
From the earliest days of recorded theatre, stories have been told in multiple incarnations. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and a host of lesser-known Ancient Greek playwrights all took a crack at the Oedipus myth. Romeo and Juliet has provided source material for countless permutations, but it, in turn, can trace a line of ancestors back to storytellers like Ovid and Dante. Throughout history, one can identify a strong collective appetite for our stories to contain both the familiar and the new simultaneously. We want new things, but we want them to offer recognizable footholds. Perhaps this is because we desire ongoing relationships with our stories.
A very common belief holds that only seven plots exist, and every story ever told is a variation on one of those themes. The origin of this idea is somewhat murky, but a basic Google search indicates its popularity nonetheless. So in essence, this theory says that pretty much everything generated is some form of adaptation. Whether you buy into that premise or not, the reinvention of tried-and-true material is clearly a mainstay of human cultural life.
Scrolling through Broadway listings reveals quite a few contemporary musicals that began on the screen: The Lion King, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (based on a movie called Kind Hearts and Coronets), An American in Paris, Kinky Boots, Aladdin, Finding Neverland, the list goes on. A good number of other musicals started as books or even plays. At the time of writing this article, at least half of the currently running shows were direct adaptations. This does not include jukebox musicals, which are arguably adaptations of a performer’s catalog, or works that consider themselves “influenced” or “inspired” by something without officially crediting its source material.
Theatre isn’t the only medium to look for stories in other existing forms. Sometimes other disciplines will choose a play or a musical as the springboard for their art. Works like Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Chicago, Annie, and Bye Bye Birdie all had long lives as musicals and were later turned into films. That trend has only intensified as modern technology has increased the volume of screen production. Sometimes things even get a little bit meta: take Hairspray, for example. It started as a film by John Waters, which was adapted into a Broadway musical, which was in turn adapted into a musical film.
The relationship between stage and screen has always been porous. Film began with silent movies that were accompanied by live instruments, thus combining the screen with live performance arguably, the first movie musicals. When sound technology emerged, it didn’t take long for the magic of speaking to embrace the wonder of singing. The first official Hollywood musical was made in 1927 (Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer). The popularity of the form has waned since the golden age of the ‘50s, but the genre has maintained a steady output nonetheless.
The joys of each medium are unique. Translating a stage event to film provides the storytelling with a vast array of tools to play with: visual stimulation through cinematography and special effects, location changes as wide as the imagination can stretch, and practical advantages such as the ability to create things like crowd scenes or instantaneous transitions. It also provides the story with a much wider audience.
A play can do very little of that, but it has its own list of what makes it unique. Theatre creates an intimate experience—the fact that live performers tell the story in real time connects us to the way people have shared stories with each other since the dawn of humanity. The spell conjured when someone transforms into someone else before your very eyes is a very particular kind of theatrical alchemy. When a performer does something impossible for most of us like adopting an impeccable non-native accent, making us believe they are a child, or executing the perfect pratfall, we’re given an opportunity, similar to the appeal of professional sports, to appreciate the magnitude of what a human body can do. We come away with an expanded notion of what we thought was achievable—what was impossible becomes possible.
Clearly each form has something to offer the other. Despite this, some people still feel that this desire to translate existing work from one medium to another reflects a lack of imagination. But if we shift the lens just a bit and look at it from a different angle, perhaps it allows us to take a story to the next level. It could be a desire, conscious or not, to cement the legacy of a beloved story, and help it endure. Maybe by making multiple versions, we are creating today’s classics.
Amélie finds her way
By Sarah Rose Leonard
“Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.”—Susan Sontag
Paris is the city of love—at least that’s what the movies say. It helps that Paris has many qualities that we associate with romance—bridges adorned with couples’ padlocks, attractive fashion, delicious wine and cheese, quaint historic neighborhoods—and so it becomes the site of many romances in the popular imagination and, maybe most strikingly, in cinema.
One of the most iconic French romances, Amélie, was released in 2001 and remains the highest-grossing French-language film shown in the United States. Yet, people don’t often think of the love story in Amélie right away. They think about that intriguing girl with a sharp haircut whose imagination lights up the screen. Perhaps this is because the story really belongs to our protagonist as she discovers herself. Amélie is part of a long tradition of romantic films set in Paris, but it is also noticeably innovative because it makes her story of self-realization its focus.
Often in American romantic films set in Paris the story rotates around two people finding each other. Three of the earliest quintessential ones are stories that are re-made and re-tooled again and again to this day: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (adapted in 1917 as The Darling of Paris), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), and The Three Musketeers (1921). Paris has captivated the American public each decade as the go-to place to find your soul mate in films such as Roberta (1935), Gigi (1958), Charade (1963), Last Tango in Paris (1972), Victor/Victoria (1982), Moulin Rouge (2001), and Midnight in Paris (2011), among others. Although the female protagonist may have her moments of agency in these films, rarely is she driving the story or engaging in self-realization. The pursuit of love is the central focus, but love’s complexity is rarely on full display.
Happily, the French have their own famous romance flicks, and they tend to be a bit more emotionally messy than ours. They also tend to be less male-driven. Well-regarded French romances include Children of Paradise (1945), Breathless (1960), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), The Story of Adele H (1975), Boyfriends and Girlfriends (1987), Love Me If You Dare (2003), and The Artist (2011), among others. One of the most renowned films from this group, and a staple of the French New Wave movement, is Jules and Jim (1962). The film tells of the 25-year-long love triangle between two best friends, Jules and Jim, and Catherine, the object of their affection. Catherine is a fiercely independent and wildly impulsive woman. She throws herself into the Seine when the two men belittle a female character in the Strindberg play they saw. She dresses up like a man and walks down the street with the best friends to see if she passes (she does). After her marriage with Jules wanes, she starts an affair with Jim, believing she can have the affections of both men. Yet even though Catherine appears to hold the power in her relationships and remains at the epicenter of the story, her actions seem to come from a place of restlessness and dissatisfaction—not from true desire. In contrast, Amélie is always acting from her desire—her genuine curiosity is her driving force and what defines her. In Jules and Jim what appears to be a story of a strong woman is instead a meditation on our inability to control others. The inexplicableness that defines love engulfs the threesome as they violently drift together and apart.
In Full Moon in Paris (1984), another influential French romance, a female protagonist takes the focus as she searches to find a balance between love and independence. Louise, an enigmatic party girl, lives with her boyfriend Rémi in the suburbs outside Paris. Rémi doesn’t enjoy going out, so Louise keeps an apartment in Paris for her to crash at after a night of (chaste yet hip) adventure. She claims that she wants this apartment to be a place where she can spend time alone—she complains that everyone loves her too much, which doesn’t leave her much time to herself—but then ends up using the bed to have an affair on the night of a full moon. That incident makes her realize that she does in fact want to be with Rémi, but upon her return to the suburbs she finds that he is leaving her for someone else. Louise’s experiment leaves her without love or independence, and the end of the film finds her as she began: going to Paris and her social life. Louise embodies an attractive, autonomous Parisian woman, but her discomfort with solitude stops her from understanding her true emotions. Amélie seems to have learned from Louise: she loves being alone and basks in her internal world. She may even go too far in that direction.
A film that embodies how love makes us immensely vulnerable is A Pornographic Affair (1999), in which a man and woman—called only She and He—meet each other in a Paris hotel room to enact a specific sexual fantasy that we never see. Their relationship continues after their first tryst, much to their surprise, and they deepen their relationship through long conversations and “normal” sex. The French have a way of placing details of a relationship under a magnifying glass, and this film takes that tendency to the next level. Intimacy is crafted through free-flowing, easy, honest dialogue, and the couple falls in love despite knowing nothing about one another. She and He are solely defined by how they love (in this case, genuinely and intensely), and we never learn who they really are as people. They presume that they are building something out of their anonymous intimacy, but in fact it is their assumptions about each other that end their relationship. The film posits that ephemeral love is the most pure, and that within that purity exists a sea of fragility, attachment, fear, and unrealistic expectations. Amélie stands on the edge of that sea—scared to dive in, and understandably so. In A Pornographic Affair love is embraced as a shifting, sneaky entity—one that can’t truly grow without fully knowing the details, not to mention the name, of the person you are falling in love with.
Amélie is rare in that the film appeals to an American audience that enjoys the focused pursuit of romance, but also shows the more French-like tendency to focus on distinctive characters. Amélie follows all the plot points of an American love story, but in a sideways fashion: rather than the boy meeting the girl and pursuing her, the girl doesn’t even meet the boy—she merely glimpses him—and she pursues him through a series of hide-and-seek tricks. Amélie shapes her individual story oh-so-quietly, almost accidentally. If we look closely, we see that Amélie has been controlling her own story all along—even before catching sight of the boy, Nino. All of her human relationships are conquered through her fanciful manipulation and careful orchestration.
But when Amélie falls in love, she hits a wall. She doesn’t know what to do with a human problem she can’t solve—the ultimate mystery: love. Amélie spends the latter half of the story pursuing and being pursued by Nino, and the risky act of reaching out to connect with another human threatens to push her out of her shell. On the surface, this game of pursuit and complex tricks looks like another cute romantic comedy trope, but by the time we see Amélie fall in love we know her well. We know that she is painfully shy, so much so that she barely talks to her coworkers or neighbors. The simple act of reaching out to another person places our bashful protagonist in a very scary and vulnerable position. Unlike the leads in Jules and Jim or Full Moon in Paris, Amélie the woman is leading her own love story. In fact, through the act of falling in love, Amélie is changing from a girl who loves whimsy to a woman who is embracing the risks that come as a result of real-life dares. Through pursuing love—whether it fails or not—Amélie chooses to grow up. And that is where her story becomes truly unique.
By Sarah Rose Leonard
Most of Amélie, A New Musical takes place in Montmartre, a neighborhood in Paris known as an artistic and bohemian enclave. Montmartre boasts a collision of past and present, of quaint tradition and contemporary chic—embracing both the highbrow and the lowbrow. The geography of the area reflects these juxtapositions: a large cemetery sits down the street from a strip of nightclubs, storied artistic heritage coexists with pivotal moments in political history, and two historic churches reside on the hill above it all. There is no better location for this story that understands human beings in all of their beautiful, crass, effervescent, and uncouth glory.
The neighborhood is filled with narrow, winding streets that curve up steep slopes, adding to its allure as a place to get lost (or as a place to follow people, as Amélie does). At the bottom of the hill is the Boulevard de Clichy, which is lined with bars, kebab shops, and dozens of sex shops (like the one Nino works in). One of the main landmarks is the Moulin Rouge, a dance hall that was constructed in 1889 and is the rumored birthplace of the cancan dance. Nearby is the Élysée Montmartre theatre (1807), a ballroom and concert venue that boasts a metal structure designed by Gustave Eiffel. In between the two famous venues sits Folies Pigalle near the Pigalle Metro, the red-light district of Paris, where a nightclub owner discovered cabaret singer Edith Piaf. Many famous artists lived in Montmartre: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Erik Satie, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Utrillo among others called the neighborhood home. Now street artists create portraits of tourists in the Place du Tertre, turning artistic space that used to be staunchly anti-establishment into a commercialized zone.
In addition to providing a haven for artists, Montmartre was home to a number of seminal political moments in the history of France. During the 1590 Siege of Paris, Henry IV stationed his artillery on the hills at Montmartre so his army could fire down into the city. In 1790, before Montmartre became part of Paris, the new revolutionary government declared it a self-sufficient area known as the Commune of Montmartre. Montmartre joined the city of Paris in 1860, and in 1871 it was the location for the uprising of the Paris Commune, a group of revolutionaries who took arms against the French government from March to May. During the French Revolution (1789–1799) an abandoned gypsum quarry slightly outside the center of town was used as a mass grave. It became an official cemetery in 1825 and is the resting place of many great men and women in the arts and sciences: Hector Berlioz, Stendhal, Vaslav Nijinsky, Émile Zola, Léo Delibes, Edgar Degas, and more.
Montmartre’s name—“Mountain of the Martyr”—comes from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, who was the Bishop of Paris and was beheaded around 250 AD on the signature hill where the stunningly white Basilique du Sacré-Coeur now sits. Surrounding the basilica are terraced gardens where gypsum quarries once were, and a brightly colored carousel nestles into the greenery. The neighborhood’s main sources of income used to be quarries and vineyards (now only one vineyard remains), and around 300 windmills once dotted the landscape. Today, two windmills remain, giving the name “Two Windmills” to the café in which Amélie works.
The mélange of history, romance, death, and art in Amélie’s story could have no more perfect backdrop than Montmartre, one of the most vivacious neighborhoods in France.
Making the everyday world feel magical
By Lexi Diamond
The artists behind Amélie, A New Musical are a talented bunch with a deep love for the film that provides the musical’s source material. We had a chance to ask director Pam MacKinnon, book writer Craig Lucas, composer and co-lyricist Daniel Messé, and co-lyricist Nathan Tysen some questions about their journey with this musical and their relationship with the beloved titular character.
Lexi Diamond: What drew you to this story initially?
Daniel Messé: In 2009, I was approached by producer Aaron Harnick with an exciting question: If I had the chance to write any musical adaptation, which story would I choose? I immediately blurted out “Amélie.” The film had been inspiring songs in me since I’d first seen it back in 2001. In fact, one of the songs that now exists in the score (“Thin Air”) was written based on scenes in the film long before I was ever given the opportunity to create this piece. I think what attracted me to this story back then is still what inspires me. This story deals with themes that have always resonated in my work: How does the past play out in our present lives? How do we connect to others? And how love is always, in the end, worth the risk.
Pam MacKinnon: I was captivated by the music that Dan Messé had written. Then I rewatched the film. Amélie’s imagination, both as a girl and young woman, as a survival technique is at once so understandable, funny, and moving.
Nathan Tysen: Amélie is one of my favorite films, and I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with Dan. The way Jeunet [the film’s director] crafted such a specific visual word and tone is extraordinary. It is one of those movies that makes you see the world differently and appreciate all of its quirky beauty. We have some big shoes to fill with a stage adaptation, but I believe this team is up to the challenge.
Craig Lucas: I was drawn by the difficulty of activating Amélie’s challenges, which were entirely cinematic as framed in the movie. Also, the idea of finding a way to theatricalize those challenges seemed hard enough to keep the years of development required for a new musical constantly interesting and engaging—that and the talents of the songwriters were the two big lures in the project.
What was it like to discover and create the musical vocabulary for this production?
Nathan: We knew it couldn’t sound like the movie score. This is definitely an American take on a French film so Dan very early on announced, no accordions! Fortunately, Dan’s music has a folksy whimsical vibe that easily lent itself to Amélie’s world. Our biggest discovery was just how much music the show required. At the beginning of our process, we only musicalized Amélie’s fantasies, but soon learned the story was more effectively told when sung. This process has definitely been one of trial and error as we have thrown out just as many songs as are currently in the show.
Daniel: Luckily for the creative team, our director Pam helped foster one of the safest and most collaborative environments I have ever experienced. The sound and tone of this show is a direct result of all the people who have worked on it together.
How are you most like Amélie? Did you find any parts of yourself reflected in this character?
Craig: If I’m not careful, I can easily isolate myself, as she does. And my self-centeredness and self-pity can result in fantasies such as her imagined martyrdom. I too live mostly in my imagination.
Pam: Her imagination as a way to get through childhood, her belief that she is the smartest person in the room, and finally her vulnerable recognition that she needs others and that other people are as wondrous as her.
Nathan: I have a tendency of getting trapped in my own head. I also love crème brûlée.
Daniel: I am a lithe young French girl and so am actually exactly like Amélie.
Have you ever played an Amélie-style game or trick on anyone?
Daniel: Lately, I’ve been setting up mysterious quests for my kids that take them across NYC, searching for clues in a library book, or a piece of building statuary. I would like to try and make the everyday world feel as magical as possible for them. I hope that is what we’ve accomplished with Amélie the musical as well; may the world appear a little more wonder-filled when people are stepping out of the theatre.
Craig: I do small subversive things most days but I’m not about to tell anyone what they are.
In the film, we learn of many characters’ likes and dislikes—things that bring small pleasures or annoyances. What would be your list?
Pam: I like the smell of my forearm that first hot day in May. I dislike overhearing strangers argue. I like recognizing a classic rock song in Muzak. I dislike hearing a classic rock song in a TV ad. I like falling to sleep with windows open to the sound of rain.
Daniel: I like the smell of (far-away) skunks. I like riding my bike on freshly paved asphalt. I like the sound of glockenspiels and of lawn mowers. I do not like sitting on a warmed-over seat that someone just left. Oh, and I very much like anthropomorphic animal videos.
Nathan: I like: the smell of a new shower curtain liner, when umbrellas invert (on other people), and the smell of gasoline on your hands after fueling your car.
I dislike: pulling packages out of boxes that are packed in Styrofoam, lotion between fingers, kids who knock on the glass at zoos or aquariums, and couples who don’t sit across from each other when eating out.
Craig: I love lying down in a room behind a closed door with the sound of the surf or an electrical storm outside or, barring that, someone vacuuming elsewhere in the house. I like the smell of a sleeping dog’s paws. Nothing is more interesting to me than psychoanalytic literature—papers presented at obscure conferences. I like watching videos of Antonin Scalia getting all steamed up, expecting it to lead to one big aneurysm and soon.
I despise people who walk behind me on the sidewalk talking louder than necessary. I always stop to let them pass and I think bad thoughts about them, hoping they will trip. People who get up during the curtain call to rush for a cab or the parking garage are not my kind of people; I would create a small island for these people to live on, away from the rest of us who wish to applaud and celebrate the performers.
See more scenes and hear original music from Amélie, A New Musical, extended to October 18, 2015!
First look: Amélie, A New Musical
Get a sneak peek at the mesmerizing and magical world of Amélie, A New Musical.
Behind the musical
“I find it really helpful to just put the Amélie goggles on for a second.” Choreographer Sam Pinkleton breaks down the dynamic movements of Amélie, A New Musical.
Behind the musical
“I think people will read this story in a personal way.” Director Pam MacKinnon reveals how she approached Amélie, A New Musical, both thematically and visually.
Introducing Amélie, A New Musical
Hear what Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep’s Michael Leibert Artistic Director, has to say about the world premiere of Amélie, A New Musical.
A glimpse at Amélie, A New Musical
Check out our first TV spot for the show!
Photos courtesy of kevinberne.com
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Enjoy a curated look at Amélie’s surroundings and influences, courtesy of our literary department.
French romance films and Amélie the movie
- Amélie is a French romantic comedy whose full title is The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain. It is written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant and stars Audrey Tautou. The film made over $33 million and remains the highest grossing French-language film released in the U.S. It won four César Awards (including Best Film), two BAFTA Awards, and three European Film Awards, among others. It was nominated for five Academy Awards.
- Thirteen fun whimsical facts about the film.
The 2001 Amélie film belongs to a long line of breakthrough French romantic films. Check out these other well-regarded French romances.
- Children of Paradise (1946)
- Beauty and the Beast (1946)
- Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
- Breathless (1960)
- Jules and Jim (1962)
- The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
- The Story of Adele H (1975)
- Full Moon in Paris (1984)
- Boyfriends and Girlfriends (1987)
- Wild Reeds (1994)
- An Affair of Love (1999)
- Love Me If You Dare (2003)
- A Very Long Engagement (2004)
- Amour (2012)
- Theatre and film have a long history of copying each other, and musicals are often fertile ground for such experiments in adaptation. This article follows a number of musicals on their journey from the screen to the stage.
- A photo gallery of popular and not-so-popular screen-to-stage adaptions.
- Montmartre, the neighborhood where Amélie takes place, is the center of bohemian activity in Paris. The area boosts a rich artistic heritage and is home to such famous landmarks as the Moulin Rouge nightclub and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. This link leads you on a virtual tour of Montmartre. The video is geared at the modern armchair tourist, but is very comprehensive with excellent historical facts.
- This site shows a variety of photographs of Montmartre, giving an idea of daily life in this neighborhood. Click on “Montmartre neighborhood” and “Sacré-Coeur Basicilia” for great panoramas and everyday snapshots.
- When Amélie the film came out it sparked a number of fashionistas to copy her style. This cute BuzzFeed article shows what we can do to become as chic as our well-coifed protagonist.