Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse

A beautifully imagined, brilliantly performed production of this Sondheim rarity runs through June 4th

By: May. 26, 2023
Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse “White. A blank page or canvas. The challenge: bring order to the whole.” These words begin Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE – an exploration of the passion and beauty found in creativity and art as told through the fictionalized eyes of the artist Georges Seurat. In mounting this rarely produced musical as the close to its 58th season, Titusville Playhouse gloriously captures the emotion, the urgency, the relevance, and the importance of this Sondheim classic and delivers it flawlessly.

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE is a musical that even many seasoned theatre goers have not experienced live (though the PBS recording of the original 1984 cast has been a perennial favorite of musical theatre superfans), so it was an inspired choice for Titusville Playhouse to close this season – especially with the recent death of its creator, Stephen Sondheim. And like the many Broadway actors who gathered in Times Square to sing the title song from the musical, “Sunday” in honor of Mr. Sondheim shortly after his death, Titusville Playhouse’s production acts as a loving tribute to the master, yes, but also to the art of creation, of beauty, and of harmony.

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse For those unfamiliar with the show, the first act of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE provides a view into the creative process of the artist, George (Logan Denninghoff) over the course of a year or so as he creates his masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”. George spends his Sundays observing the citizens of Paris, France who stroll on the lush green island of La Grande Jatte in the middle of the Seine and sketching all he sees. His subjects include his model and lover, Dot (Erica DeJongh), his acquaintances and those people (and animals) who just happen to be lounging nearby. George then retreats to his studio where he feverishly paints the now famous painting – using a new method (which we now know as pointillism) that brings together science and art to create something the art world of 1884 is simply not ready to embrace. All consumed by his work, George’s relationship with Dot falters and while the world (and Dot) moves on, George stays hyper focused on his work. But his passion and his visionary understanding of color, light, order and balance allows him to create a masterpiece which comes together (literally) in an overwhelmingly beautiful moment at the close of the act. Act II takes place one hundred years later with the artist’s Great-Grandson, also named George (also Logan Denninghoff), a cynical and jaded contemporary artist premiering his latest piece, “Chromolume #7” at the art gallery where his great-grandfathers masterpiece hangs. As George goes through the motions needed to be a successful artist (“Putting it Together”) he is faced with his legacy as shared by his grandmother, Marie (Erica DeJongh) who sees the same spark (and pain) in young George as his namesake (as shared by her mother, Dot). The two worlds collide at the end of Act II as young George visits Paris and connects in an otherworldly way with his legacy and understands his true potential as an artist.

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse For SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, Director Steven J. Heron has outdone himself bringing together a brilliantly talented cast that embody the larger-than-life characters on stage. His setting of the show inside the walls of George’s art studio is a truly inspired choice – grounding the action in the environment of the artist and elevating the creative process. This also gives Scenic and Projection Designer Christian Fleming an amazingly effective blank canvas to work with (and an opportunity to shine) – providing subtle nods to the elements of the famous painting (via canvases on easels and other set pieces) vs. the literal scenic elements often used. For a production which focuses so much on “color and light” the lighting design is critically important – and William Gibbons-Brown delivers some of the most gorgeous lighting designs I have seen on stage at Titusville – including a breathtaking tableau for the emotional zenith, “Move On”.

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse The ensemble gathered together for Titusville’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE is amazingly talented, to a person – and each actor is given moments to shine throughout the production. And though the characters who make up the pastiche that forms the basis for George’s painting each get to tell a part of their own story, it is George who ties it all together (literally and figuratively). I cannot give enough praise for Logan Dennighoff’s performance in the role – he is mesmerizing. His acting as the visionary artist is nuanced and well-conceived, but it is his singing voice that enraptures the audience. He handles the complex and complicated Sondheim score with ease and shows off amazing range and clarity in every song – shifting easily from subtle softer elements to soaring full-voiced notes that take your breath away. As Dot, Erica DeJongh does an amazing job conveying Dot’s love for (and frustration with) George – and she has some amazing musical moments as well including the aforementioned climax “Move On”.

Review: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Titusville Playhouse The score for SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE is one of Sondheim’s most beautiful and the cast, under the musical direction (and sound design) of Spencer Crosswell sings it magnificently. There are moments where the harmonies are so profound and the power in the music is so present that I was moved to tears – not because of sadness or even the subject matter, necessarily (though it is, indeed, inspiring) but because of the sheer beauty of Sondheim’s score as effectively delivered on stage. And last, but not least, Jordyn Linkous’ costumes and wigs create a strong tie to the look of the people in the painting without trying to mimic them too directly (and his contemporary costumes in Act II are fun and effective as well.)

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE is a rarity – as a theatre reviewer who has seen countless productions in my lifetime, this is only the second time I have ever seen a live production (the last time was 30 years ago). On one hand, that is unfortunate – since it is such a unique and beautiful show but on the other hand it illustrates the real opportunity audiences in Titusville have and how important it is to make it out to Titusville Playhouse before it closes. Don’t miss this beautifully imagined, brilliantly performed production that is guaranteed to entertain and inspire.

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, presented by Titusville Playhouse, runs through June 4th.  Tickets begin at $25. Performances take place at the Titusville Playhouse, 301 Julia Street, Titusville, FL 32796. Tickets can be purchased by visiting Click Here or calling (321) 268-1125.

All Photos by Niko Stamos, Titusville Playhouse

Headline Photo:  The Company of Sunday in the Park with George

Top Photo: Logan Denninghoff as George

Middle Photo 1: Erica DeJongh as Dot

Middle Photo 2: Logan Denninghoff as George & the Cast of Sunday in the Park with George

Middle photo 3: Joanne Van Zyl as Old Lady & Logan Denninghoff as George

Middle photo 4: Sienna Weir as Frieda & Matthew Sheaffer as Franz

Bottom Photo: James “Jimbo” Bordenkircher as Mr. & Rachel Erickson as Mrs.


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Joseph Harrison has been involved with the theatre in some form or fashion all his life. He holds a Journalism degree from the University of Georgia, but his true love is the theatre which he has been... Joseph Harrison">(read more about this author)


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