POST: 'Gigi' As a film, was so perfect...

 Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

I first saw the film, Gigi, when I was 15. My mom, whose recommendations I swear by, had been raving about Gigi and how amazing of a musical film it was for years. And then one day we came across a woman's stoop sale and wound up purchasing Gigi on VHS (yup, old school) for a buck. I sat in the living room with my mom and put the tape into our VCR (which miraculously remains in perfect working order). The movie started to play and, well...

I became totally and utterly obsessed. And once I heard Leslie Caron perform "The Parisians" I already knew I was going to be watching this movie many many more times.

Side note: At this point, I'm surprised that the film in the tape hasn't started to unravel. 

I had been ACHING to see a staged production of Gigi since 2010. And my dream was realized when I saw Vanessa Hudgens play Gigi on Broadway. Heading into the theatre, I knew that the Broadway musical would realistically have its fair share of differences from the film, but I didn't anticipate these differences would bug me as much as they did. 

Theatre is about creativity and originality, not making carbon copies of the past. I have believed this for years, but it's amazing how this view deserted me upon discovering that one of my favorite movies hadn't been represented the way I would have liked on stage. If all revivals of theatre were exactly the same, what would be the point of reviving them, much less paying to see them? It was irrational for me to ever expect a staged production of Gigi to mirror a 1958 filmed version. I had put this movie up on a pedestal, and in doing so I had resigned myself to disappointment. Gigi as a film was so perfect that anything that wasn't it was immediately inferior.

So during intermission, I forced myself to stop comparing the film to the musical, and to just appreciate the musical for what is was. Once I let go of my frustrations, Gigi on Broadway enhanced the story I fell in love with five years ago, enabling me to accept songs written solely for this production, and even a Gigi so modern she'd fit in easily in today's society. But I couldn't completely forget Gigi on Broadway's origin; Every once in a while I'd hear a direct quote from the film and smile at the actors on stage, unable to resist wondering how many people in the audience caught the same film reference.


 

$35 Student Rush

Gigi
Neil Simon Theatre
thru October 4