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July 14, 2022

Vive la France! French Plays and Musicals


For Bastille Day – and every day – we’re celebrating all things French! We’ve looked over the Concord catalog and discovered a wealth of wonderful plays and musicals set in France.

From 13 Rue de L’Amour to Victor/Victoria, here are several Concord shows that are très très français!

13 Rue de l’Amour by Georges Feydeau, Mawby Green & Ed Feilbert (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play / 3f, 5m)
This hilarious frolic launched Feydeau in Paris as the Neil Simon of his day. Take one philandering husband; add his virtuous but vengeful wife, a spiteful doctor, a jealous friend and a naive nephew; toss them together at 13 Rue de L’Amour, workplace of a love-starved German countess and a perky French maid; season with a befuddled police inspector and stir.

2008 Broadway production of A Tale of Two Cities: The Musical (Carol Rosegg)

A Tale of Two Cities: The Musical (Broadway Version) by Jill Santoriello (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 5f, 9m, 1 girl)
Based on Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, this stirring musical focuses on the love triangle between young beauty Lucie Manette, French aristocrat Charles Darnay and drunken English cynic Sydney Carton – all caught in the clutches of the bloody French Revolution.

Amélie by Craig Lucas, Daniel Messé & Nathan Tysen (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 5f, 7m, 1 girl)
Amélie lives quietly in the world but loudly in her mind. She covertly improvises small but surprising acts of kindness that bring joy and mayhem. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realizes she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Amélie (Teen Edition) (US/UK) is also available for licensing.

Amour by Michel Legrand, Didier van Cauwelaert, Marcel Aymé & Jeremy Sams (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 4m)
This charming and whimsical romantic fantasy is based on a beloved French short story written by Marcel Aymé in 1941. In Paris shortly after World War II, the meek and unassuming Dusoleil, a beleaguered and love-struck clerk, inexplicably develops the ability to walk through walls. A Parisian Robin Hood, he begins stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Paris… Michel Legrand… l’amour… what could be more French?

An American in Paris by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin & Craig Lucas (US/UK
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 5m +Ensemble) 
This lush romance musical tells the story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl and an indomitable European city – each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of international conflict. Inspired by the Academy-Award winning 1951 film, the new stage musical features a ravishing Gershwin score and a fresh, sophisticated book by Pulitzer Prize finalist Craig Lucas.

Anastasia: The Musical by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens (US/UK
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 5m, 1 girl +Ensemble)
This dazzling show transports its audience from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family. 

Belleville by Amy Herzog (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2f, 2m)
In Amy Herzog’s thrilling and suspenseful play, young Americans Zack and Abby have the perfect ex-pat life in Paris: a funky bohemian apartment in up-and-coming Belleville; a stable marriage; and Zack’s noble mission to fight pediatric AIDS. But when Abby finds Zack at home one afternoon when he’s supposed to be at work, the questions and answers that follow shake the foundation of their seemingly beautiful life.

Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti, Beverley Cross & Francis Evans (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 4f, 2m)
This 1960’s French farce adapted for the English-speaking stage features self-styled Parisian lothario Bernard, who has Italian, German and American fiancées, each a beautiful airline hostess with frequent “layovers.” He keeps “one up, one down, and one pending” until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris, and Bernard’s apartment, at the same time.

2014 Paper Mill Playhouse Production of Can-Can (Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)

Can-Can by Cole Porter & Abe Burrows (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 3m +Ensemble)
Cole Porter’s smash hit explores the lives of showgirls in the Montmartre dance halls of the 1890s. With songs like “C’est Magnifique” “Allez-Vous-En,” and “I Love Paris,” plus a whole lot of skirt-lifting can-can dances, this show may be the French-est of them all.

Carnival by Bob Merrill & Michael Stewart (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 2f, 4m +Ensemble)
Based on the 1953 film Lili, this Bob Merrill/Michael Stewart gem opens with a character named Jacquot singing “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” while playing the concertina. The delicate romance between a naïve girl and an embittered puppeteer plays out against the backdrop of the “Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris.”

Dear World by Jerry Herman, Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee, Jean Giraudoux, Maurice Valency & David Thompson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 4f, 2m +Ensemble)
This musical adaptation of Jean Giradoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot (US) takes place in a Parisian café and in the underground tunnels of Paris just after WWII. The show’s score – featuring glorious songs like “I Don’t Want to Know,” “Kiss Her Now” and “I’ve Never Said I Love You” – is considered by many to be one of Jerry Herman’s best.

Don’t Dress for Dinner by Marc Camoletti, Robin Hawdon (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3f, 3m)
This boulevard comedy was a smash hit in Paris, London and Broadway, where it earned two Tony nominations. Bernard’s plans for a romantic weekend with his chic Parisian mistress go awry when his wife Jacqueline shows up to meet her lover, Bernard’s best friend Robert. Everyone’s alibi gets confused with everyone else’s, and an evening of hilarious confusion ensues.

Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 2m)
Passionate. Brilliant. Defiant. Tonight, 18th-century scientific genius Emilie du Châtelet is back and determined to answer the question she died with: love or philosophy, head or heart? In this highly theatrical, fast, funny, sexy rediscovery of one of history’s most intriguing women, Emilie defends her life and loves; and ends up with both a formula and a legacy that permeates history.

Flowers for Mrs Harris

Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico, Richard Taylor & Rachel Wagstaff (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 6f, 4m)
For Ada Harris, day-to-day life is spent cleaning houses. But when she happens upon something that takes her breath away, she sets off on a journey that will change her life… From the cobbled streets of post-war London to the magical avenues of Paris and beyond, Ada transforms the lives of everyone she meets along the way, but can she let go of her past and finally let her own life blossom?

Gigi by Alan Jay Lerne, Frederick Loewe & Colette (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 5m +Ensemble)
Based on Collette’s novella, this Lerner & Loewe classic is set in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Young, awkward Gigi, groomed to become a courtesan, charms the dashing bon vivant Gaston Lachaille and matures into a poised young lady. The score includes the title song, “I Remember It Well” and “Paris is Paris Again.”

Irma la Douce by Alexander Breffort, Marguerite Monnot, Julian More, David Heneker & Monty Norman (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 1f, 8m +Ensemble)
This musical is French through and through! Premiering at the Théâtre Gramont in Paris in 1956, Irma was translated into English and opened on Broadway in 1960. The show, a comic romance between a Parisian prostitute and her penniless lover, features songs like “Valse Milieu,” “Sons of France,” and “There Is Only One Paris for That.”

Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 8m)
Ken Ludwig’s celebrated adaptation of the timeless swashbuckler is a tale of heroism, treachery, close escapes and – above all – honor. In 1625, D’Artagnan and his sister Sabine, disguised as a man, set off for Paris in search of adventure. Soon after reaching Paris, they join forces with the greatest heroes of the day – Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, the famous musketeers – to defend the honor of the Queen of France.

2010 Broadway Production of La Cage aux Folles (Joan Marcus)

La Cage aux Folles by Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Herman & Jean Poiret (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 7m +Ensemble)
A crowd-pleasing and heartwarming comedy about family, show biz and drag. After 20 years of partnered bliss, Georges and Albin, co-proprietors of a drag nightclub in St. Tropez, learn that their son plans to marry the daughter of a bigoted, right-wing politician. Though Georges reluctantly agrees to masquerade as a straight man, Albin complicates the ruse with a hilarious plan of his own.

Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3f, 6m, 1 boy)
In this contemporary take on the young queen of France, Marie is a confection created by a society that values extravagance and artifice. But France’s love affair with the royals sours, and the political suddenly becomes very personal. From breezy palace banter to surging street chants of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” Marie Antoinette holds a mirror to our contemporary society… which may just be entertaining itself to death.

Miss Liberty by Irving Berlin & Robert E. Sherwood (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 5m +Ensemble)
In 1885, an American photographer named Horace goes to Paris to find the model who posed for the Statue of Liberty. When he finds her, heartfelt complications ensue. But a happy ending is inevitable; the statue is dedicated in a rousing patriotic finale that only Irving Berlin could have written.

Edith Piaf

Piaf by Pam Gems (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 5f, 25m)
This play with music, reworked from the celebrated 1978 original, vividly captures the glamour, squalor, rise and fall of the complex, fragile and enigmatic performer Edith Piaf, who continues to be remembered and revered for her exceptional voice and extraordinary life.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 7m)
Steve Martin’s long-running off-Broadway absurdist comedy places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism.

Prayer for the French Republic by Joshua Harmon (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 6f, 10m)
This gorgeous multigenerational drama explores one family’s relationship to faith, history and safety from a global perspective. In 1944, a Jewish couple in Paris desperately await news of their missing family. More than 70 years later, the couple’s great-grandchildren find themselves facing the same question their ancestors asked: “Are we safe?”

Roberta by Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach & Alice D.G. Miller (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 3f, 5m)
This 1933 tuner from Otto Harbach and Jerome Kern is set in the glamorous world of elegant Parisian fashion. Star football player John Kent inherits Roberta’s, an exclusive dress shop in Paris, so he moves to France to manage the business. The show, which introduced “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” starred a young Bob Hope in his first leading role on Broadway.

Silk Stockings by Cole Porter, George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath & Abe Burrows (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 4m)
Another Cole Porter musical set in Paris! Loosely based on Ninotchka, Silk Stockings tells the story of a Russian envoy who must manage three fun-loving Soviet agents in Paris. Songs include “All of You” and “Paris Loves Lovers.”

The Dinner Party by Neil Simon (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3f, 3m)
Neil Simon’s contemporary adult farce, set in a swanky Parisian restaurant, moves deftly from over-the-top comedy to heartstopping realism. Tossed together in a private dining room, five people have a sneaking suspicion that this unorthodox dinner party will forever change their lives.

Original Broadway Production of The Phantom of the Opera (Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade)

The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe & Gaston Leroux (US
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 4f, 6m +Ensemble) 
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterwork, a timeless story of seduction and despair, tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. Madly in love with an innocent young soprano, the Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her talents and employing every devious method at his command.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Nan Knighton, Frank Wildhorn, Baroness Orczy (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 2f, 3m +Ensemble)
A swashbuckling action/adventure musical! Based on Baroness Orczy’s famous 20th-century novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel dramatizes the French Revolution and the battle for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The show’s most popular numbers include “Into The Fire,” “When I Look At You” and “I’ll Forget You.”

Victor/Victoria by Blake Edwards, Henry Mancini, Leslie Bricusse & Frank Wildhorn (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 3m)
Paris in the Jazz Age! Hilarious, brassy and surprisingly touching, Victor/Victoria is a sophisticated musical comedy based on the acclaimed movie from director Blake Edwards. In 1930s Paris, chanteuse Victoria Grant poses as a man in order to achieve fame as a female impersonator. Complications ensue when a gangster falls for her/him. Songs include “Paris by Night” and “Le Jazz Hot.”

That’s our list. Happy Bastille Day, everyone – Vive la France! (And while we’re at it… vive le théâtre!)

For more great plays and musicals, visit Concord Theatricals in the US or UK.

Header Image: An American in Paris