Kathleen Marshall: A Few Questions More

Kathleen Marshall is a Tony-winning director/choreographer best known for such period musicals as Nice Work If You Can Get It and Broadway revivals of The Pajama GameGreaseWonderful Town, and Anything Goes. Now she’s staging My Paris, a new musical based on the life and times of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, at New Haven, Conn.’s Long Wharf Theatre May 4–29, with original music by singer/songwriter Charles Aznavour. The show also features a book by Alfred Uhry and English lyrics and musical adaptation by Jason Robert Brown.

What does this show look and sound like?

What I love about My Paris is that it puts you in the world of Toulouse-Lautrec at the turn-of-the-last-century Paris. It’s about his relationship to his family, his art, and the city of Paris. But what really made me want to do this, and what brought it all together, was Charles Aznavour’s music, which we like to say is really French music, not Cole Porter or Jerry Herman doing their version of French music.

What is Aznavour like to work with?
He’s a living legend. He’s 91 now and still doesn’t stop. He’s amazing. We have to catch him between touring and performing. We’ve been developing this over the course of several years and have met with him several times, and he’s been to the readings and workshops and [the developmental production] at Goodspeed. And he’s still writing. He’s actually working in a new song for us right now. Personally, he’s elegant, absolutely elegant, always dressed impeccably, and he’s very sharp, quick-witted, and funny. He speaks English, but we also have a translator so he can speak in French too.

What art is hanging on your walls at home in New York City?
We don’t have any theatrical memorabilia—no posters of shows or pictures from the productions. But we do have a lot of original art that my husband and I have collected over the years. It’s very eclectic—some from thrift stores, a large collection of black-and-white photography that we love, some paintings, and one numbered and signed Picasso print.