Graham Philips and Talia Suskauer Lead SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE At Axelrod Performing Arts Center

Sunday in the Park With George plays a limited engagement, March 8 - 24, at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center.

By: Mar. 01, 2024
Graham Philips and Talia Suskauer Lead SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE At Axelrod Performing Arts Center
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The Axelrod Performing Arts Center, in collaboration with Grind Arts Company, presents a bold reimagining of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, Sunday in the Park With George, March 8-24 at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center (100 Grant Avenue, Deal, NJ). Official opening night is Saturday, March 9 at 8. PM. 

Sunday in the Park With George stars Graham Phillips (13: The Musical on Broadway; TV's "The Good Wife," "Riverdale"), in his first return to the stages of the Tri-state in 16 years, as George, and Talia Suskauer (Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway) as Dot.

Eamon Foley brings a bold, new, dance-forward reimagining of the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine masterpiece to the stage. Inspired by the Georges Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” Sunday in the Park With George is one of the most acclaimed musicals of our time; it won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize and garnered 10 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. As George completes his most ambitious work, the artist struggles to create meaningful art and meaningful connections with those he's closest, including his lover, Dot. Misunderstood by the artistic community, George has the capacity to engage with the subjects on his canvas, but not with the people in his life. A century later, Seurat's great grandson – also an artist named George – is lost and in search of direction. He finds his path forward, illuminated by the color and light of the past.

“My dance-forward vision of Sunday In The Park With George began twenty years ago,” says Eamon Foley. “I was nine-year-old, appearing as a newsboy in the Broadway revival of Gypsy with Bernadette Peters. All of us child actors would watch the PBS recording of Sunday on VHS during the second act, while waiting for our curtain call. Then, I'd listen to the cast album on my commutes to and from the theatre, and the score really inspired me, as it has so many others. To me it sounded like color swirling around you, and I believed that this complex and beloved musical had untapped potential to dance. Bringing the colors to life as dancers en pointe seemed like the perfect way to bring us closer to George, and honor what I first found so thrilling about Sondheim's rich score.” Later, Foley would further explore this concept as a student at Princeton University, making a dance film set to Sunday's “Color and Light.” A labor of love – created with the meager resources of a student artist – he experimented with this dance-forward approach to the material. “Now, with this production,” Foley says, “I bring this concept to fruition with some of my oldest friends and collaborators; I've admired Graham Phillips' talent since we appeared on Broadway together in 13: The Musical, and I have been admiring Talia Suskauer since we attended theatre sleepaway camp together. It's thrilling to bring this vision to life on stage ...finishing the hat, at last."

Phillips and Suskauer share the stage with Joy Hermalyn (Fiddler on the Roof, Caroline or Change on Broadway) as the Old Lady, Bernard Dotson (Paradise Square on Broadway) as Jules, Kevin Arnold, Giuliana Augello, Anthony Cataldo, Katie Davis, Bridget Gooley, James C. Harris, Isabel Lagana, Ella Mangano, Dylan Randazzo, Allie Seibold and six dancers from the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater Company (AXCBT); Alyssa Harris, Giana Carroll, Lindsay Jorgensen, Olivia Miranda, Sarah Takash and Gillian Worek.

The production features Music Direction by Jacob Yates (Only Gold, Hadestown, Rock of Ages), who will conduct an 11-piece orchestra; Scenic Design by Ryan Howell (Teenage Dick, I Am My Own Wife); Costume Design by DW Withrow (Broadway Bares, The Rockae, The Apple Tree); Projection Design by Brad Peterson (Cats, Larry David's Fish in the Dark), Lighting Design by Paul Miller (Legally Blonde, Amazing Grace), and additional Wig Design by J. Jared Janas (Wicked, Prayer for the French Republic, & Juliet). Dave Zuckerman is the Executive Producer, and Robin Foley, Nancy Karpf, and Katie Birenboim are Co-Producers. The Production Stage Manager is Jason Brouillard. 

“With Sondheim's most personal and soaring score,” Axelrod's Executive Artistic Director, Andrew DePrisco summarizes, “Sunday remains the sentimental favorite of every Sondheim fan and yet it is rarely revived due to its auspicious demands. We are thrilled to be partnering with Grind Arts to mount Eamon's brilliant conceptualization of this musical, and we are certain that audiences will be awestruck with this staging that incorporates both movement and light.”

Tickets

Sunday in the Park With George plays a limited engagement, March 8 - 24, at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center (100 Grant Avenue, Deal, NJ). The official opening is March 9 at 8PM. Tickets, ranging from $32 - $65, are available on online at www.AxelrodArtsCenter.com.

About the Artists

Graham Phillips (George) began his career as a soloist at the New York City and Metropolitan Operas before starring on Broadway in Jason Robert Brown's 13: The Musical, where he first met Eamon Foley. Graham was a series regular on “The Good Wife” before writing and directing his first feature, The Bygone, a neowestern thriller, with his brother. Their second feature, Rumble Through the Dark, based on the novel The Fighter by Michael Farris Smith, was released last year by Lionsgate. He has performed in a variety of roles on film and television, including leads in the films Goats, Evan Almighty, XOXO, Staten Island Summer and Blockers. He also has appeared in “Riverdale” and “Atypical” and starred in ABC's “The Little Mermaid Live”. Recent stage credits include Nick in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Geffen Theater and George in Pasadena Playhouse's production of Sunday in the Park With George.

Talia Suskauer (Dot) recently completed her tenure as Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, and prior to that, the show's 2nd National Tour. Other NY credits: Be More Chill (Broadway), Be More Chill (Signature Theater). Regional: Louise in Gypsy (Goodspeed Opera House), Little Women (Jo), The Secret Garden (Lily). Film/TV: "FBI: Most Wanted," 31 Candles, to be released next year. Talia has performed at Carnegie Hall, and performs solo shows around the city at venues like 54 Below and Chelsea Table and Stage, and at theaters around the country. Talia holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Penn State University.

Eamon Foley (Director / Choreographer) is the Artistic Director of Grind Arts Company. Broadway credits include Gypsy, Assassins, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 13! The Musical, and Everyday Rapture. Eamon choreographed David Cromer's Next to Normal at Writer's Theater, and Michael Arden's productions of Annie at the Hollywood Bowl, Merrily We Roll Along at The Wallis Annenberg (NAACP Award Nomination), Guys and Dolls 




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