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Paris! The Show

Paris! The Show is a vibrant tribute to the greatest French songs of the post-war years, featuring the music of Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Lucienne Boyer, Charles Trenet, Josephine Baker, Yves Montand, Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel. Recently we spoke with the show’s writer, producer and director Gil Marsella about what Halifax audiences can expect on November 7.

What is your own personal background?
I am 48 years old, living in Nice, France, I am married, with 3 kids. I have a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Nice, and I studied piano with the Nice Conservatory Class of Jazz.

What is your professional background?
I was a professional musician at 16 years old, a musical director at 20 years old, and an artistic director at 25 years old. I became CEO of founder of Directo Productions in 2001. Since then, we have produced more than 300 concerts and events produced each year.

When and why did you first get involved with this particular production?
In 2014, after a series of successful international shows, I wrote and produced Paris - The Show for audiences who love 20th century French music.

What are the challenges involved?
Getting the show mounted and up and running is always a big challenge. As is bringing 20th century French music to international markets.  

What are the rewards?
After the international success of our Piaf! production, I saw the opportunity to bring this great music to people all over the world. That alone is reward in and of itself.

How has the show changed over time?
It really hasn’t changed that much since we first mounted the production – a few tweaks here and there maybe, but nothing major. Perhaps now might be a good time to consider making a few bigger alterations.

What can audiences expect to experience at the performance?
Paris! The Show is a story of love in Montmartre 1950, performed with all greatest French songs of 20th century. Audience will be transported to Montmartre and Moulin Rouge through a love story that you would only find in 1950s Paris.

From your perspective, why has the production been so popular with audiences?
Audiences are loving this show, like they did with Piaf!, as it is so different from what they are used to seeing on the big stage.  The Canadian market has been very responsive, with sellout performances in Toronto and Calgary. And part of that, I believe, is because everyone loves a good, old-fashioned love story. We are all romantics at heart.  

French music enjoyed great acclaim after World War Two - a 'golden era' of sorts - why are these songs still so renowned?
It’s very simple, actually - French music is very melodic and romantic. It touches our hearts in much the same way that many of the French art has, and continues to. That includes literature, painting, dance, and more.

What are your thoughts on French music today?
It is very rich and trendy. A lot of French artists and productions succeed in exporting their music, which is a good thing in the way that it opens up the international marketplace for all of our artists.

What is next on your creative agenda?
After the success of Piaf! and Paris! The Show, Charles Aznavour has given us permission to put a production of his work together called Formidable Aznavour which will be on the road in 2018. We are also putting together ‘Piaf Symphonic’ which will star Anne Carrere, who plays the lead in Paris! The Show.

Paris! The Show
Tuesday, November 7, 8pm
Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax

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