As the title character in the musical “Amélie,” a lonely young woman spreading warmth and doing good deeds even as she remains cocooned in isolation, the wonderful Phillipa Soo radiates her own brand of soulful magic. With her bright, pure soprano, and a face so expressive it might almost be a glowing high-definition television screen, Soo almost single-handedly transforms this sugar-rich, gossamer adaptation of the popular French movie into an emotionally rewarding evening.
The musical, at the Walter Kerr Theatre, retains all of the madcap diversions of the 2001 movie. Anyone allergic to whimsy will want to give the theater a wide berth — a few blocks at least — while “Amélie” is in residence. Aside from the protagonist, the characters are all card-carrying eccentrics, and we are treated to both a singing goldfish and a singing garden gnome, among other surrealities.