Screen-to-Stage Adaptation “Amélie” Delights as New Broadway Musical

Screen-to-Stage Adaptation “Amélie” Delights as New Broadway Musical

From left, Phillipa Soo and Savvy Crawford, both as Amélie, in the new Broadway musical of the same name (©Joan Marcus)

The endearing French movie “Amélie” is now an even more charming Broadway stage musical starring “Hamilton” alumna Phillipa Soo in the title role.

This whimsical rom-com takes audiences from Amélie’s unconventional childhood—her parents are a bit off when it comes to showing affection, even though they both love her very much—to her coming into her own as an adult, living alone in Paris. Along the way, we meet her beloved pet goldfish, Fluffy (“World’s Best Friend”), Amélie’s quirky colleagues and customers at the café where she works in Monmartre, her painter neighbor (Dufayel, played by Tony Sheldon), and Nino, a handsome stranger with an album full of other peoples’ photo booth photos (played by the beyond adorable Adam Chanler-Berat). 

Fans of the film’s gorgeous, fanciful sequences will be tickled to find how well they’ve been transferred to the stage. The bold colors of the set and costumes mimic the film’s lush palette, but the addition of songs elevates the story—allowing the audience to hear the characters’ inner thoughts in a more meaningful way than the movie’s voiceover narration. Hearing (while seeing) Amélie’s and Nino’s concerns about the obstacles in their paths from their own points of view makes their mutual sense of longing that much more personal and urgent.  

As Amélie, Phillipa Soo shines as the outwardly shy, but hyper-imaginative and secretly adventurous woman who comes to realize that while doing good for others is an admirable trait, it’s okay to do good for yourself too. Soo—sharing the title role with an equally delightful Savvy Crawford, who plays the dreamer as a child—beautifully captures the dichotomous nature of Amélie’s logic-based nurturing from her parents and her own sense of wonder of what could be. 

Adam Chanler-Berat is the perfect on-stage partner for Soo. His Nino is a puzzle piece Amélie didn’t know she was missing, as their passion for storytelling and personal quirks complement each other wonderfully. Though he’s playing someone who tends to blend into the crowd, Chanler-Berat’s performance commands attention and his songs (“Stations” and “Real You,” along with his duet with Soo, “Stay”) resonated with me well after the curtain came down. 

The entire ensemble is amazing, working together to bring this sometimes silly, but always heartwarming story to life. This show also has some of my favorite props this season (yes, I’m talking about you, alligator head). I’ve always liked the movie version of “Amélie,” but I l-o-v-e-d this musical.

“Amélie” is now open at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 W. 48th St., btw Broadway & Eighth Ave.). Get your tickets here.

The cast of "Amélie" (©Joan Marcus)

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