Monday, April 28, 2008

Putting It Together

So: Sunday In The Park With George. I'm a little weird when it comes to Sondheim-Lapine collaborations. I somehow defy conventional wisdom and enjoy the second acts more than i do the first. This holds for both George and Into The Woods. I've never seen Passion. Most people really enjoy the first act of ITW, but loathe the second half where most of the cast is killed off by a rampaging giant. (Spoiler?) Into The Woods was my first Broadway experience and I intensely loved the second act for all its insanity. Recently I wondered if I'd like it so much if I had seen it for the first time as an adult instead of as a child. My appreciation for somber musical experiences has waned in recent years. But those shows I first encounted when i was little, still hold a special place in my heart no matter how demented or depressing they get (I'm looking at you, Runaways! Don't ever change!)

So going into George, I had heard much the same like it-loathe it equation applied. Not that Act II was sad exactly , but that Act II just seems unnecessary following what happens in Act I. So I was all prepared to be disappointed by Act II, but in fact I really responded more strongly to it than the story of Act I! So maybe I'm in the minority when it comes to these shows, but oh well. Overall I thought the production was very very strong. The projection-technology used on the set is truly innovative and so much more compelling than a similar technique used in A Catered Affair. Daniel Evans as George the painter and then later as George the "sculptor" gives two strong performances, as does Jenna Russell as Dot/Marie. I've seen clips of Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in the roles and I'm sure they're overall performances are quite different in that production than this one. Maybe it's weird for people who really know the score and the original show to see it interpretted differently, but i thought theses two were totally right on the money for the tone of this production. The whole supporting cast was very strong too. This seems to be a Broadway season with a lot of very strong revivals. Very exciting! The score for George is really moving, with "Sunday" being an amazing ending to both acts. It sorta sneaks up and takes your breath away. I definitely recommend this production for it's creativity of design and solid performances. Although the seats at Studio 54 offer NO leg room. Be forewarned.

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