Review Roundup: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, Starring Jake Gyllenhaal

Just last night, New York City Center presented Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George, which will run through October 26.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford are joined by Brooks Ashmanskas, Phillip Boykin, Max Chernin, Carmen Cusack, Gabriel Ebert, Claybourne Elder, Lisa Howard, Zachary Levi, Liz McCartney, Michael McElroy, Ruthie Ann Miles, Stephanie Jae Park, Solea Pfeiffer, Gabriella Pizzolo, Phylicia Rashad, Jaime Rosenstein, and Lauren Worsham.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Ben Brantley, New York Times: Jake Gyllenhaal, you'll be delighted to hear, can speak pointillism. Even more to the, uh, point, he can sing pointillism, which isn't easy at all. It involves concentration and balance and order, not to mention being able to summon all those radiant flecks of color and light. But when Mr. Gyllenhaal intones, "blue, blue, blue, blue," in a bristling succession of notes, you could swear you hear dabs of paint turning into shimmer. With that moment, we've stepped with Mr. Gyllenhaal through the doorway of one man's vision and into the empyrean summoned by his character, the 19th-century French painter Georges Seurat. It's going to be a long and happy time before we have to return to our dimmer daily worldviews.

This blessed moment of passage occurs early in the joyous City Center concert production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's "Sunday in the Park With George," which opened in a gala performance on Monday night and runs only through Wednesday. Starring Mr. Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford, with a supporting cast that glows with top-drawer, Broadway-honed talent, this is one of those shows that seems destined to be forever spoken of with misty-eyed bragging rights by anyone who sees it.

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: Producer Jeanine Tesori (the Tony-winning composer of Fun Home) has pulled together an exceptional company of top talents to find the humor and humanity in Seurat's figures (as well as in 1980s art-world denizens). Standouts include Zachary Levi as Jules, a fellow artist with a begrudging admiration for Seurat's experiments with color and light, and Carmen Cusack as his wife Yvonne, a snob who longs to be looked at the way Georges looks at Dot. As the married coachman and cook to Jules and Yvonne, Gabriel Ebert (a Tony winner for Matilda) and Ruthie Ann Miles (ditto for The King and I) bring tart characterizations; Phillip Boykin's bassissimo gruffness is an ideal fit for the Boatman; and Brooks Ashmanskas and Liz McCartney are deliciously droll as vulgar nouveau riche Americans who can take or leave Paris, aside from the pastries. Phylicia Rashad delicately mines the concern hidden beneath the disapproving demeanor of Georges' haughty mother, flanked by the always-terrific Lisa Howard as her Nurse. As for Gyllenhaal, his plan to return to Broadway this season in a revival of the Lanford Wilson drama Burn This has been postponed until the 2017-18 season due to a scheduling conflict. But it seems likely that his stage future might also eventually include a musical, if his continuing flirtation with the form and evident vocal coaching are any indication.

Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: Who knew? Jake Gyllenhaal can be brooding (Brokeback Mountain), intense (Nightcrawler, Zodiac) and weird (Enemy). But who knew he could out-Mandy Patinkin Mandy Patinkin? Yet that's exactly what he does in the outstanding concert version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Sunday In The Park With George. The last of its too-brief run of performances is tonight; slated as a fundraiser for New York City Center's invaluable concert series "Encores!," tickets for the three-day run quickly became hotter than Hamilton when the production was announced. It not only doesn't disappoint, it makes the brief stand seem shocking in light not only of the star's bravura turn but also in the total home run of a production.

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