Monday, September 14, 2009

Dark Monday - Sunday In The Park With George

Sunday In The Park With George

I was lucky enough to see Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in the original Broadway production of Sunday In The Park With George, as well as the recent revival brought over from London's West End. The musical, written by my hero Stephen Sondheim, is a brilliant homage to the painting by George Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon On The Island of La Grande Jatte. I will say I enjoyed the revival, but the original was just so damn good, with amazing performances by both Bernadette and Mandy which left an indelible memory of the experience even though with was about 25 years earlier.

Sunday In The Park With George Sunday In The Park With George

The first act centers on Sondheim's take on the people who influenced the characters in the painting. The second act brings the story to the present, as Seurat's [fictional] great-grandson about to put on a 'light and color' art piece, inspired by the painting produced in the first act. Like most of Sondheim's work, the music and lyrics were textured and layered, with meaning, emotion, and storyline a focus. The first act closed with George (Patinkin) finishing the painting, and placing all the characters in the tableaux.

The show focuses on the process of art for the artist, from George songs like Color And Light, Finishing The Hat, and Putting It Together opening a discussion of the thinking of artists. I certainly remember thinking it was perhaps Sondheim's most personal musical to date. His quiet, reclusive, and ponderous George was about as close to his own reputation as any character has been.

Sunday In The Park With George
The marquee for the revival.

The following is a clip for the song Move On from Act II of the show. While not from the show, it is Bernadette singing it beautifully.


  1. For some reason, the Seurat painting was always my favorite work of art. My closeted ass even had a poster of it hanging on my wall at Penn State.

    Because of this, I've always wanted to see the Broadway show. Unfortunately I never made it to the most recent revival. Maybe next time.


  2. I was lucky enough to catch a taped version of the Patinkin/Peters production on PBS many years ago. What stands out most for me? "It's hot up here." I don't know why that particular line stands out. Maybe because Patinkin is so hot?

  3. David, I hear you. I loved the painting, and loved it even more after the show.

    Behr, I actually didn't see the taped version, but have been tempted to order the DVD because I loved it so much. But indeed, Patinkin is hot!



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