Pasadena Playhouse set for Sunday in the Park with George
Danny Feldman, Producing Artistic Director of Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theater of California, announced casting for Sunday in the Park with George, the first mainstage production of the theater's six-month-long celebration of the works and impact of Stephen Sondheim, the first major festival honoring his legacy since his passing in 2021.
Marking the start of the later part of his career, Sunday in the Park With George (1984), in which Sondheim's music brings the world of George Seurat to vivid life, is the first of three musicals Sondheim created with James Lapine that include Into the Woods (1987) and Passion (1994). Sondheim and Lapine won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work, and while it was revived on Broadway in 2008, and again in a celebrated limited run in 2017 (helmed by Sarna Lapine), Sunday in the Park with George has rarely been produced in Los Angeles with the full-scale production it deserves-until now. Inventive, insightful, and in a class of its own, this ravishing, captivating masterpiece encapsulates the complexity of life-and the art of understanding it.
One of the most acclaimed musicals of all time and Sondheim's most innovative and groundbreaking musical, Sunday in the Park with George is directed by Sarna Lapine, who helmed the most recent Broadway revival of the show, with choreography by Alison Solomon and musical direction by Andy Einhorn.
Vanity Fair said, "By musicalizing the agonies of both George Seurat and the painter's fictional great grandson, Sondheim created what is perhaps the ultimate treatise on the stresses of pursuing a career in the arts. The piece holds such significance to Sondheim that he titled his two volumes of lyrics-Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat-after the central metaphor in one of its songs."
On a Sunday afternoon on La Grande Jatte, French artist George Seurat is hoping to find the inspiration to create a masterpiece. As the piece comes together, the people come alive; his mother, his friends, his critics, the woman he loves. Stroke by stroke, dot by Dot, will George create something lasting, something new?
Sunday in the Park with George is a shimmering tribute to "the art of making art "which takes on an even deeper and richer meaning since Sondheim's passing.
Director Sarna Lapine says, "Sunday in the Park With George has been my favorite musical since childhood. How it resonates with me has changed over time, with age, and along the precarious path of pursuing a livelihood and life in the arts. I continue to be inspired by how personal this show feels to so many people and how like any great Classic, it ages well over time and continues to resonate. It's one of those rare shows where even while working on it, from the inside, I continue to experience what the audience does as if the show erases the divide between creator and observer. It is a show that speaks to the creative burn in all of us.
It is with tremendous love and gratitude, and joy that I find myself in Los Angeles now and am about to start rehearsals with an astonishing new cast, many of the same members of the creative team that I had the privilege of working with on Broadway, a crew of new collaborators, and under the guidance of a thrilling artistic director, Danny Feldman.
May this production celebrate Mr. Sondheim and his dear collaborator, James Lapine. What they created stirs the mind and the heart; the experience of being in the audience (and in the show) illuminates that connection and community are always possible - even across the great chasm of time."