The first show to premiere into the newly renovated Hudson theater was Sunday in the Park with George and here is my review of the production.
Let me start this review by pointing out that I had absolutely no interest in seeing this production of Sunday in the Park with George. It wasn't until there was a video released with Jake Gyllenhaal singing "Finishing the Hat" that I had any interest at all in seeing the show. By then, all the cheap tickets were sold out and I had to basically sell my soul for a ticket. (That's a lie, my friend just gave me one but still.)
So I got to see the show and instantly fell in love. First of all, here's the story. George Seraut, the man who painted A Sunday in La Grande Jatte, is a man dedicated to his work (at least in the musical). So much so that he ends up losing his girlfriend because he's so determined to finish the hat. She ends up pregnant with his child and leaves for America because he can't say how much he loves and needs her.
And that's just Act One. No, really. This musical only gets sadder as it goes on. In Act Two, we realize that George's great-grandson George (Really. It can get confusing) is just as dedicated to his art as his great-grandfather was. In fact, he got a divorce because of it. So his grandmother (Marie) tries to appeal to her grandson and make him see that the important things we leave behind when we leave this world are children and art. And if you really want to cry, just listen to the cast recording from "Children and Art" through "Sunday" and you'll be bawling.
Basically it is a depressing musical because it is Sondheim but it also is inspiring. "Isn't it lovely how artists can capture us?"
And this production was one of pure beauty. On a minimialistic stage with just a sheet hanging behind them with projections on it, the production was all about the words the cast were saying. As it should be with this musical. And it was a great time for a production of this because it shows us how important the arts are. With everything going on in the world, we tend to forget the message theater and movies and music can all bring to us.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as George/George and Annaleigh Ashford as Dot/Marie, there wasn't a bad performance in the production. But they were just two of the big stars. The third? Well, that's the lovely Robert Sean Leonard. For those who don't know who he is, go and watch Dead Poets Society and cry because he is the lovely Neil Perry. And his performance was just as amazing as Jake and Annaleigh's.
While the musical is now closed, it is important to realize how relevant Sondheim's musicals continue to be. Sunday in the Park with George shows us just how much the arts and our dedication to them matter in this world as the main things we leave here are children and art. Now, let's just get a revival of Company on Broadway starring Chris Pine as Bobby to make me happy.
And like the musical says the only things we should leave behind in this world when we're gone are children and art.