Review Roundup: Signature Theatre's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
Signature Theatre is proud to present Sunday in the Park with George, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning musical, directed by Signature Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner (Signature's Dreamgirls, The Threepenny Opera). Running in the MAX Theatre through September 21, the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine classic is the first production of Signature Theatre's 25th Anniversary.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Charles Shubow, BroadwayWorld.com: Playing the leading role of George is Broadway veteran Claybourne Elder who nails his complicated role as an obsessive artist who lives for his art (I wish he had a better beard). He ignores his love interest Dot, the amazing and talented Brynn O'Malley.
Peter Marks, Washington Post: On this blissful occasion, the revival, directed with refinement and perspicacity by Matthew Gardiner, boasts an exemplary cast, led by Claybourne Elder as Seurat, imagined here as the standoffish "George," a visionary who can empathize with others only by painting them. Even more captivatingly, it features the superb Brynn O'Malley as the aptly named Dot, a Parisian artist's model frustrated by George's finding her less satisfying as a flesh-and-blood woman than as a collection of specks on his canvas.
Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun: Claybourne Elder does assured work as the two Georges, conveying Seurat's concentration and isolation (I wish they could find a more persuasive beard), then the mix of idealism and uncertainty in the 1980s George. Except when pushing his voice, Elder sings with warmth and nuance... Brynn O'Malley has a dual triumph. This delectable actress makes Dot a wonderfully vibrant, yet vulnerable, woman, and, turns into the nonagenarian Marie with remarkable subtlety and charm. O'Malley is also a terrific singer, revealing a natural instinct for phrasing.
Jayne Blanchard, DC Theatre Scene: This current viewing is courtesy of Signature Theatre and director Matthew Gardiner, who takes what is considered a cool-toned and cerebral show and imbues it with astonishing warmth, quickness and light... In his hands and assisted by a superlative cast, Sunday pays loving tribute to the process of creation-not only a masterpiece painting, but a child, a new life, the reinvention of self.
MetroWeekly: Signature has once again tapped its sharp, resourceful associate artistic director Matthew Gardiner to helm the proceedings, and, as always, he's trotted out some of Signature's best in supporting roles - and given that the cast of characters is wholly distinct from Act One to Act Two, most pull double duty. The production's leads, Signature newcomers Claybourne Elder and Brynn O'Malley, also do double duty, with Elder playing both Georges and O'Malley tackling Dot and Marie. O'Malley shows greater range and is particularly touching as Marie, but at a recent performance both actors struggled here and there to hit the right note.
And who can forget the 6-year-old, Iain, who gladly gives his point of view below: