The Anonymous Do-Gooder
Rhinebeck Theatre Society mounts regional premiere of the musical Amélie
June 17-July 3 at The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck
In 2001, a cult classic was born in the film Amélie, written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant. The story follows a vibrant young Parisian woman who approaches the world around her at a distance, strangely hesitant about forging close human connections.
But on the night that Princess Diana of Wales is killed, Amélie discovers a box hidden in her apartment filled with a child’s memories from long ago. She becomes determined to return the box to its original owner. This begins a long line of anonymous good deeds done for a host of eccentric characters, and these acts of kindness inadvertently lead Amélie to a possible love interest.
Nino Quincampoix collects photo strips left behind in photo booths. He is both the pursued and the pursuer when Amélie accidentally finds the album where he collects the strips, and the two must decide the lengths they will go to meet each other, or keep their distance.
This romantic comedy becomes a zany musical adventure in the hands of composer Daniel Messé, lyricist Nathan Tysen and writer Craig Lucas. The show opened on Broadway in 2017 to mixed reviews, but was re-worked for a 2019 West End production which The Guardian lauded as “a triumph of adaptation.” The show was subsequently nominated for Best New Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Actress in a Musical at the 2020 Laurence Olivier Awards.
In Rhinebeck Theatre Society’s production, the story finds new life on the intimate stage at The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Kacie Boice, who stars in the title role, will make audiences of all ages feel young and full of abandon with her inspired, confident take on the character. Playing opposite her as Nino is Frank McGinnis, a CENTER favorite who adds his own musical talent on guitar. With a total cast size of 16, each performer adds uniquely layered characters into the story, including a blind beggar, a struggling painter, a no-nonsense cafe owner who used to be a trapeze artist, an infatuated fruit seller, and a wayward garden gnome. Oh, and don’t forget the Elton John cameo!
Says director Ellen Honig, “This show is all about love and finding your way in the world. If audiences come away feeling joyful and free of worry then we’ve done our jobs.”
With lively, pop-inspired music, colorful costumes, a whimsical set, and a very talented cast, this show is sure to kick summer off on the right track. Not only will you be singing the songs, but you’ll be looking for your next good deed to do.
Amélie opens Friday, June 17 and runs three weekends. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8pm. Sunday matinee performances are at 3pm. All tickets are $25. More information is available at https://www.centerforperformingarts.org or call 845-876-3080.