One of the most visually stunning shows currently on Broadway is the new revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical called SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE which I saw earlier this evening at Roundabout Theatre Company's Studio 54. This musical chronicles the life of French impressionist painter GEORGES SEURAT during the creation of his now celebrated masterpiece, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte-1884," although the characters are fictional. The second act is set in New York in the 1980s, when Seurat's great-grandson encounters different artistic struggles in his search for inspiration to create something new in the unfolding world of contemporary art . According to Roundabout, the story is a celebration of the "art of creation and creation of art." Although I am not a big fan of Stepehen Sondheim's music, I immensely enjoyed this critically-acclaimed production. The high-tech animated projection is truly mesmerizing, and DANIEL EVANS (George), JENNA RUSSEL (Dot) and the cast are wonderful. Directed by SAM BUNTROCK, this musical revival runs through June 29.
Review from the New York Times:
By BEN BRANTLEY
Published: February 22, 2008
“Look!” says the man for whom seeing is everything, in a voice that both commands and beseeches. “Look!” This directive is issued by the painter Seurat, played by Daniel Evans in the glorious revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Sunday in the Park With George,” which opened Thursday night at Studio 54. And even if George’s mother, to whom he is ostensibly speaking, pays him no mind, we certainly do.
How could we not look at the rhapsody of images that keeps unfolding before us? Directed by Sam Buntrock, this production uses 21st-century technology to convey the vision of a 19th-century Pointillist to truly enchanting effect.
But in “Sunday in the Park With George,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1985, looking involves much more than registering what’s pretty, what’s shocking, what’s new. The great gift of this production, first staged in London two years ago, is its quiet insistence that looking is the art by which all people shape their lives.
As a consequence, a familiar show shimmers with a new humanity and clarity that make theatergoers see it with virgin eyes. And while “Sunday” remains a lopsided piece — pairing a near-perfect, self-contained first act with a lumpier, less assured second half — this production goes further than any I’ve seen in justifying the second act’s existence.