Debbie Reynolds

An American (musical) in Paris. Once seen as lowbrow, Broadway shows now ride high in France

An American (musical) in Paris. Once seen as lowbrow, Broadway shows now ride high in France

Outside Paris’ magnificent Grand Palais, just off the Champs Elysees, theatergoers stood in the drizzle to see “Singin’ in the Rain.”

It was cold and wet, but the Christmas lights were sparkling and those in line seemed in the mood for a little American song and dance.

France has taken the Broadway musical to its collective heart, and none more so than “Singin’ in the Rain,” a stage adaptation of the 1952 Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds movie that is on its third sell-out run in Paris in less than three years.

It took the French a while to warm to the American “comedie musicale,” as it is known here, long dismissed by Paris’ highbrow as low art. Today,...

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