Paris — “This is tricky,” said Christopher Wheeldon. Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope, the leads in his new production of “An American in Paris,” looked at him expectantly. The production team, sitting in a row in the auditorium of the Châtelet theater here, waited quietly.
Mr. Fairchild’s character, Jerry, was declaring his love for Ms. Cope’s Lise, and Mr. Wheeldon wasn’t convinced that it was working. He pushed his baseball cap farther back on his head and stared at the couple thoughtfully. “How about this?” Mr. Fairchild said, executing a perfect double pirouette. Everyone laughed. “If only that would do it,” Mr. Wheeldon said.
Mr. Wheeldon knows about pirouettes. At 41, he is one of the most important and in-demand ballet choreographers working today. But as a director, he is a newcomer, an as-yet-untested commodity in the financially hair-raising enterprise of bringing a new show to Broadway, where “An American in Paris,” a stage adaptation of the beloved 1951 Vincente Minnelli film, begins previews on March 13 at the Palace Theatre.