Thus, my friend and I were treated to a musical with a heavy inflection of ballet, and just the right amount of each. Add to that the Paris art world and a plot that was part Phantom of the Opera and part Les Miserables … In short, a fun evening out.
Having just visited the Paris Opera House, I especially loved the scenes set in the Opera House. The set does a nice job of recreating both the glitz of the Hall of Mirrors, where the dancers are sent out in between acts to entertain the wealthy gentlemen, and the darker nooks and tiny rooms where the same gentlemen pursue the dancers.
I thought the cast was terrific. The main actress portraying young Marie was a wonderful dancer, a ballet dancer performing the role of a young ballet dancer. While I’ve never been a huge dance aficionado, I thought she was spectacular. And I liked the older Maria as well, and the casting of the two together.
Having seen the play, I have many questions about the real life Marie van Goethem – how much of the story is real, how much fictional. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because Marie’s story is a stand-in for the story of so many anonymous others, just as Degas’s portrayal of her was a look into this world.