Sunday in the Park with George: Sondheim and Seurat, Gyllenhaal and Ashford

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - 1884
“Art isn’t easy,” Jake Gyllenhaal as George sings in the fourth Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Sunday In the Park with George,” inspired by one of the most popular paintings in the world.
“Sunday” opens tonight at the newly rechristened Hudson Theater, which is both one of the oldest theaters on Broadway (built in 1903), and the newest (presenting its first Broadway show in 49 years.)

If some theatergoers were uneasy with the unusually structured musical when it premiered in 1984, audiences have come around so completely to the art of Stephen Sondheim, that when the characters in Georges Seurat’s painting bow to him in Act II, it seems nearly autobiographical.
Click on any photographs below by Matthew Murphy of the current production to see them enlarged. (Below the photographs, a plot summary by Sondheim himself.)

Stephen Sondheim’s synopsis: “Act One concerns the French painter Georges Seurat (1859-1891) and his creation of Un dimanche apres-midi a l’Ile de la Grande Jatte (A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte), which took more than two years to complete…and depicts approximately fifty people in varying perspectives and proportions strolling and relaxing in a public park outside of Paris..Act Two deals with the artistic crisis experienced by his great-grandson, an American conceptual artist in his forties, named George.”e

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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