Album Review: Amélie (2017 Original Broadway Cast Recording)


“I am not afraid 
 As everything I’ll ever need appears 
his is how my world gets made”

A musical adaptation of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film and led by a red-hot Phillipa Soo coming off her enormous success of Hamilton, Amélie felt like a safe bet for at least a half-decent run on the Great White Way. But underwhelming reviews crippled it and striking out on Tony nominations delivered the killer blow, meaning it closed at the Walter Kerr Theatre before even making it to its third month.

Fortunately, we were blessed with an Original Broadway Cast Recording, so those of us unable to see it can experience some of its pleasures. And it is undeniably pleasant, as befits so gently lovely a story as this. With music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen and a book by Craig Lucas, there’s little to take offence at, and you suspect that that is part of the problem. The gentleness that is such an integral part of the show and the score just ends up tending towards the bland in this volume.

Only ‘Times Are Hard For Dreamers’ comes close to being the kind of breakout hit that you’ll wake up humming the next day, and Soo’s gorgeously creamy voice suits it perfectly. And she’s never less than lovely elsewhere, it’s just that the music is so generic. Adam Chanler-Berat similarly does his best as pseudo-love interest Nino – ‘Thin Air’ standing out here – but altogether, it’s not too difficult to see why Amélie didn’t make that strong of an impression on the large-scale Broadway market.

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