PIAF! The Show, staring Anne Carrere April 18-April 21, 2018
Review by Anne Akers; Founder/Editor in Chief, GLOW Beauty Health Wellness Magazine
It was an uncharacteristically chilly, and blustery day, in New York City when I left my office enroute to Florence Gould Hall, a 360-seat performing arts venue located in midtown Manhattan between Park and Madison. The chill of the day began to melt away when I was greeted by my dear friend Diane, stylishly dressed in a black cape with fur trim, and a small hat that had all the appearances of a French beret. Indeed, she “looked the part” for the evening ahead, an occasion that we both had anticipated for many reasons, not the least of which was a celebration of my friend’s birthday.
Speaking of birthdays, PIAF! THE SHOW premiered three years earlier….similarly, as a tribute to “the sparrow of Montmartre” on the centennial of her birthday. Following a sold-out-one-night-only performance at Carnegie Hall last year, the current production has sold over half a million tickets in more than 30 countries. With rave views worldwide, a short run of April 18 to April 21 was a rare chance to see the show in New York.
Entering the theatre well before the performance was to begin, almost every seat was taken. Unlike the typical NYC theatrical gathering, the audience was singularly “of a certain generation”, well heeled and if one was to do a quick survey, largely Francophilies or those of French heritage. The show, BTW, was presented by the FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise), which is a private not-for-profit organization, created in 1898 by American Francophiles to promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture. And the entire performance, save one song, was entirely in French.
Inspired by the Oscar-winning movie La Vie en Rose, PIAF! THE SHOW is a musical celebration of the life and music of the legendary French chanteuse. In two 45-minute acts, the show narrates the rags-to-riches story of Piaf’s career through her unforgettable songs, complemented by a visual tapestry of previously unreleased photographs and images of famous locations of the Edith Piaf era.
Act 1, with a photographic backdrop of a small Parisian cafe on a cobbled street in Montmarte, frames the early years of Piaf. As a street singer, she was dependent on the kindness of strangers to toss their loose change. Earlier lesser known songs, however, remained rich in spirit and were captured beautifully by the show’s star, Anne Carrere, who mirrored the soul of Piaf, as if it were her own.
Act 2 takes us to the famous Olympia Theatre in Paris and Carnegie Hall in 1957, where the audience was treated to the greatest hits associated with Piaf including La Vie en Rose (1946), Hymne d l’amour (1949) and among my favorites, Jezebel and Autumn Leaves. As a nod to the English speaking members of the audience, one number was song in English, with translation on a large screen, as Anne Carrere urged all to sing along. This young performer, in many ways a physical resemblance of Piaf, has been hailed as “Piaf’s legitimate musical heiress” and as she moved from song to song with remarkable ease, passion and finesse, it occurred to me that Piaf’s closest friends, who are still alive—including Charles Aznavour—–would concur that this is the best, and truest, show ever produced on Edith Piaf’s life.
The evening regrettably ended too soon, as did Edith Piaf’s life (1915 to 1963). The performance of Anne Carrere and her equally gifted musical and creative team was rewarded with multiple standing ovations. And I left the evening with a renewed appreciation of the broad spectrum of art events that nourish and enrich New York’s diverse audience………………and a feeling that in any language, the music of Piaf speaks the language of the heart.
French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), Gil Marsalla, and Directo Productions
PIAF! THE SHOW
Starring Anne Carrere
Conceived and directed by Gil Marsalla
“Anne Carrere can miraculously capture Piaf’s soul and ably revive her spirit…”
—The New York Times
“Anne Carrere’s voice soars!”
Wednesday–Friday, April 18–20 at 7:30pm
FIAF • Florence Gould Hall; 55 East 59th Street, NYC
New York, NY, March 15, 2018—Following its sold-out one-night-only performance at Carnegie Hall last year, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premiere French cultural center, joins forces with Gil Marsalla and Directo Productions to present PIAF! THE SHOW from Wednesday through Friday, April 18–20 at 7:30pm at FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall.
Inspired by the Oscar-winning movie La Vie en Rose, PIAF! THE SHOW is a musical celebration of the life and music of the legendary French chanteuse. Conceived and directed by the Nice-based theatrical maverick Gil Marsalla, this special concert stars the internationally acclaimed Anne Carrere, a young French performer hailed as “Edith Piaf’s legitimate musical heiress.”
In two 45-minute acts, the show narrates the rags-to-riches story of the Parisian singer’s career through her unforgettable songs, complemented by a visual tapestry of previously unreleased photographs and images of famous locations of the Edith Piaf era.
PIAF! THE SHOW premiered in 2015 as a tribute to “The sparrow of Montmartre” on the centennial of her birthday. With over half a million tickets sold in more than 30 countries and rave reviews worldwide, this is a rare chance to see the show in the New York!
115 minutes, with intermission
Singer: Anne Carrere
Piano: Philippe Villa
Accordion: Guy Giuliano
Double Bass: Daniel Fabricant
Percussion: Laurent Sarrien
About Anne Carrere
Anne Carrere made her debut in large-scale musical theatre as the star of PIAF ! THE SHOW. A native of the South of France, she began preparing for a stage career in her early teens, studying voice, acting, and a variety of vocal and dance styles at the renowned art school Salon-de-Provence. She later pursued classical musical training, playing flute and piano. Before seriously pursuing her passion for the traditional French chanson, Anne participated in numerous French talent competitions and TV shows, showcasing her singing and dancing skills in diverse styles including classical, jazz, and Modern Jazz.
About Gil Marsalla
Gil Marsalla (Director and Producer) has been studying music since the age of 14 and had a rewarding career as a musician, music director, conductor, and artistic director. He has been successfully producing musical and theatrical shows and large-scale events for the past 20 years, most recently with his own production company Directo Productions, which he founded in 2001 with the goal of supporting and presenting emerging French artists. Since 2007, he has been touring his productions worldwide and successfully presented his shows to sold-out houses in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Tokyo, Moscow, and many other international locations on five continents. Among his recent producing credits are Formidable Aznavour (2017), Paris, Le Spectacle (2016), and Piaf Symphonic (2018).
The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is New York’s premiere French cultural and language center. FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression. www.fiaf.org
|What:||PIAF! THE SHOW|
|When:||Wednesday–Friday, April 18–20 at 7:30pm|
|Where:||FIAF– Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenue)|
|Admission:||FIAF Member Tickets: $45
Non-Member Tickets: $55
|Tickets:||800 982 2787 | fiaf.org|
|Information:||212 355 6160 | fiaf.org|
|Transportation:||4, 5, 6, N, R and Q to 59th Street & Lexington Avenue|
|F to 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue; E to 53rd Street & 5th Avenue|
|Bus – M1, M2, M3, M4, Q31 to 59th Street; M5 to 58th Street
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