Amour, an English adaptation of the French musical La Passe-Muraille, with music by Michel Legrand, opened on Broadway on October 20, 2002, and closed after only 17 performances, making it, in theater terms, a flop. Notwithstanding its failure to find an American audience, the show earned five Tony nominations: for best musical, best score (Legrand and Jeremy Sams), best book (Sams), best actor (Malcolm Gets), and best actress (Melissa Errico). In part, all those nominations are evidence of the dearth of new musicals on Broadway, but they also reflect the considerable quality of the show, and the production. Bravely, Sh-K-Boom Records undertook a cast album six months after the closing, and the recording (which, due to the musical's brevity, captures just about all of it in 74-plus minutes) demonstrates that quality. Legrand's music has a sprightly pop charm reminiscent of his film scores, particularly The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and Sams' rhyme-filled lyrics are witty and amusing. The magical story of an ordinary man who comes to walk through walls and thereby achieves fame and love (for a time), is light and amusing with a touch of sadness, and it is performed delicately by an accomplished small cast and band. The result is a wonderful pocket musical that probably should have opened Off-Broadway, where it might have attracted the kind of cult following that kept The Fantasticks running for decades, rather than on Broadway, where it clearly could not compete with the giant spectacles currently dominating the musical theater. As it is, it may attract many regional and amateur productions when people get to hear its entertaining score on this disc.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|L' Amour fantôme, musical play|