The Center national du costume de scène is thus organizing an exhibition inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the world of the greatest musicals from My Fair Lady to The Melody of Happiness , including Grease, Cabaret, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera. or 42nd Street. .. To (re) discover these mythical productions, notably popularized thanks to films shot in Hollywood, the CNCS has assembled more than 100 costumes which retrace the history of this theatrical form combining comedy, song and dance. Born at the beginning of XX th century on the Broadway stage in New York, the musical known in France an unprecedented craze for twenty years.
Declined according to specific codes and aesthetic vocabulary, the stories and intrigues of these shows often induce spectacular staging, sets and costumes in shimmering colors. The artists are experts in dance, singing and comedy to perfect this complete art.
The musical is, from its creation, an eminently popular genre; it is today a major and unique phenomenon. Danny and Sandy (Grease), Sally Bowles (Cabaret), Don Lockwood (Singin ‘in the Rain)… the costumes of these famous characters, recognizable at first glance, allow the actors to carry high the famous roles they embody. It is a glamorous and playful world that the CNCS chooses to highlight. Let the show begin!
Heir to different artistic forms such as operetta, opéra-comique, revue and sometimes jazz, the musical is part of a mainly Anglo-Saxon heritage and culture; the theaters of Broadway in New York and the West End in London are the legendary stages. In France, it was from the 1960s that spectators discovered this musical genre thanks in particular to tours of American shows or the broadcasting of cult films such as West Side Story or My Fair Lady … followed by the achievements of Jacques Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.
Since the end of the 1990s, thanks to the smashing success of Notre-Dame de Paris, then Roméo et Juliette and Les Dix Commandements , the productions of French musical shows are multiplying in front of a conquered public and more and more numerous. The takeover by Stage Entertainment of the Théâtre Mogador combined with the programming of great works of the American musical repertoire at the Théâtre du Châtelet since the mid-2000s, brought back to date, and with exceptional success, emblematic works such as The Lion King, Grease, 42nd Street or Singin ‘in the Rain.
The exhibition presents more than a hundred costumes from shows performed on the stage of the Théâtre du Châtelet but also those of famous productions given in New York, London, Toulon, Paris, including Grease, the last great success of the Mogador Theater.
The original scenography takes the visitor backstage, revealing the life of the costume before it enters the stage. Unpacking, fitting, makeup and getting on the boards. The sets of certain iconic musicals are evoked in the form of offbeat winks in a joyful, and of course, musical journey.
Images courtesy of Centre National du Costume de Scene. Photo by Florent-Giffard