Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE-An Exquisite Production at Axelrod PAC

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Axelrod PAC

By: Mar. 15, 2024
Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE-An Exquisite Production at Axelrod PAC
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“I’m trying to get through to something new, something of my own.” by George in Sunday in the Park with George.

Axelrod Performing Arts Center is now presenting Sunday in the Park with George, a vibrant, beautifully staged production that enjoys splendid direction and choreography by Broadway veteran, Eamon Foley. The bold reimagining of the show with its star-studded cast is enthralling from the first minute to the last.  We attended a weekday matinee when the audience gave it an enthusiastic standing ovation. 

Sunday in the Park with George has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine.  The highly acclaimed work made its Broadway debut in 1984, garnering 10 Tony Award nominations.  The show won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1985.  

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE-An Exquisite Production at Axelrod PAC

This musical theatre gem is inspired by the Georges Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” as Seurat sketches people in the park where his paramour, Dot poses for him.  The subjects in the painting come alive in the show to portray a variety of interesting people living in France in the late 1800’s. Even though his work was not valued by the art community, Seurat remained true to his style of Pointillism that uses of small strokes of color.  The show also depicts art movements in the modern day as Seurat’s great-grandson, George, who has experienced some success with his “Chromolume” installations using electronic lighting techniques and color, strives to find new direction for his talents. While the show is not biographical, Sunday in the Park with George provides fascinating insights into the creative processes of an artist whose great passion and dedication for his work causes personal conflict.

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE-An Exquisite Production at Axelrod PAC

The cast, having impressive stage and screen credits, is led by the talents of Graham Phillips as George, and Talia Suskauer as Dot. Top-notch actors round out the company, with many seamlessly assuming multiple roles. They include Joy Hermalyn as the Old Lady;  Bernard Dotson as Jules; Kevin Arnold as Franz/Dennis; Giuliana Augello as Celeste #1/Elaine;  Anthony Cataldo as Soldier/Alex; Katie Davis as Yvonne/Harriet; Bridget Gooley as Celeste #2/Betty; James C. Harris as Boatman/Charles; Isabel Lagana as Freida/Mr./Naomi; Ella Mangano as Louise; Dylan Randazzo as Louie/Lee; and Allie Seibold as Mrs./Nurse/Billie. The dancers from the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater Company (AXCBT) are excellent as expressively represent the colors of Georges Seurat’s palate. The dancers include Alyssa Harris, Giana Carroll, Lindsay Jorgensen, Olivia Miranda, Sarah Takash and Gillian Worek.

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE-An Exquisite Production at Axelrod PAC

Stephen Sondheim’s score shines bright with the outstanding performances by the company.  Memorable songs include “Sunday in the Park with George by Dot and George; “Gossip” by Celeste #1, Celeste #2; Boatman, Nurse, Old Lady Jules, Yvonne and Dot; “Finishing the Hat” by George;  “Sunday" by the Company; “It’s Hot Up Here” by the Company; “Putting it Together” by George and Company; “Move On” by George and Dot” and the final, grand number, “Sunday” by The Company.

The Creative Team, assembled by the Center’s Executive Artistic Director, Andrew DePrisco has done a fabulous job of bringing Sunday in the Park with George to the Deal stage. It features Music Direction by Jacob Yates who conducts the 11-piece orchestra; Scenic Design by Ryan Howell; Costume Design by DW;  Projection Design by Brad Peterson; Lighting Design by Paul Miller; and Wig Design by J. Jared Janas. Dave Zuckerman is the Executive Producer, and Robin Foley, Nancy Karpf, and Katie Birenboim are the show’s Co-Producers. 

Sunday in the Park With George will be performed for a limited engagement through March 24th with matinee and evening performances available.  Gather your friends and make time to see the show.  It is an exquisite theatrical experience.

The Axelrod Performing Arts Center is located at 100 Grant Avenue, Deal, NJ  07723.  For tickets to Sunday in the Park With George and more information visit https://www.axelrodartscenter.com/ and call (732) 531-9106

Photo Credit: Michael Hull



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