The new Broadway production of ‘The Little Prince’ creates a universe of hypnotic beauty

The new stage production of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 English-language novella The Little Prince – one of the world’s best-selling books and the second most translated (with 200 million copies sold in more than 300 languages and dialects) – has already become a worldwide phenomenon, with previous sold-out runs in Paris, Sydney, and Dubai. It has now arrived at the Broadway Theatre for a limited engagement through May 8, with an international cast of performers and an award-winning creative team that immerses audiences in a universe of hypnotic beauty and spectacle.

Aurélien Bednarek, Chris Mouron, and Lionel Zalachas. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Written by the expatriate French author, aviator, and aristocrat while living between NYC and Long Island in 1942 (during WWII), the story, in the format of a children’s book, contains the very adult themes of life, love, human nature, and death, inspired by the writer’s own experiences of mirages and hallucinations after crashing his airplane in the Sahara Desert in 1935. The current theatrical adaptation by Chris Mouron, based on Saint-Exupéry’s 1945 French translation, follows the adventures of the titular young wanderer, who meets a series of characters on his journey through space and visits to Earth and other planets, including an aviator who encounters him in the middle of the desert where his plane has landed.

The company. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Co-directed by Mouron and choreographer Anne Tournié, it also adds elements of aerial acrobatics, ballet and modern dance, and feats of physical agility; a transporting pre-recorded score (with original music by Terry Truck) and sound effects (sound design by Tristan Viscogliosi); and a fantasy world of projections (video design by Marie Jumelin, video projection by Etienne Beaussart) and lighting (by Stéphane Fritsch) – all of which bring sensory enhancement to the didactic storytelling that takes place on a (nearly imperceptibly) bare stage (a very smart, visually effective, and efficient use of theatrical stagecraft for an international traveling show).

Mouron, who serves as the narrator (and the only one in the show who speaks), recounts to us, in English (with a charming and expressive French accent) and French (with English supertitles on screens at both sides of the stage), a sequence of 20 magical vignettes in two acts, as told by the Little Prince to The Aviator (played with strength by Aurélien Bednarek), which are re-enacted by the highly skilled Cirque-style company with extraordinary grace, balance, and control. Those sequences include a romantic balletic and a soaring aerial pas-de-deux between The Little Prince (the irresistible Lionel Zalachas) and his ephemeral love The Rose (the exquisite Laurisse Sulty); the playful romp of a herd of adorable sheep (performed by the ensemble); a funny post-modernized look at The Vain Man (Antony Cesar), who can’t stop taking selfies with his cell phone; The Snake (Srilata Ray) that devilishly slithers and up and down an aerial rope; and The Fox (Dylan Barone), who is untamed but wants to become friends with The Prince and understands that “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Laurisse Sulty and Lionel Zalachas. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Rounding out the superb cast are Adrien Picaut as The Businessman, Marie Menuge as The Drunkard, Marcin Janiak as The Lamplighter, Joän Bertrand as The King, William John Banks as The Switchman, and ensemble members and alternates Christian Denice, George Sanders, Iris Beaumier, Pawel Walczewski, and Madison Ward. Each and every one brings astonishing moves and delivers an important life lesson in character-defining costumes (by Peggy Housset), hair, and makeup (by Carmen Arbues Miro).

They are all supported by apropos props (by Aurélie Gandilhon) and the eclectic musical styles, evocative sound, mood-appropriate lighting, and captivating 3-D projections that shift with the scenes, enchant and mesmerize, and inspire our imaginations within the underlying theme of the universal truths learned by The Prince and entrancingly imparted to audiences of all ages.

Running Time: Approximately one hour and 50 minutes, including an intermission.

The Little Prince plays through Sunday, May 8, 2022, at the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, NYC. For tickets (priced at $59-279), call (212) 239-6200, or go online. Everyone must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and a photo ID to enter the building and must wear a mask at all times when inside.


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