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LH Review: Sunday in the Park With George

%22Sunday+in+the+Park+with+George%22+is+based+on+this+famous+painting.
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LH Review: Sunday in the Park With George

"Sunday in the Park with George" is based on this famous painting.

"Sunday in the Park with George" is based on this famous painting.

"Sunday in the Park with George" is based on this famous painting.

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For two weekends, the University of Iowa is performing a Sondheim classic “Sunday in the Park With George,” a musical about the making of the famous painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,comparing when it was originally made to how it has changed the art world today. The musical, which was performed March 8-10 and will be performed March 14-16, focuses on George, a French painter who was going for the limits in the art world, and Dot, his model. Not only does the story follow the two subjects that have a life together outside of the painting, but also every character that is part of it, including two best friends, police officers, tourists, and a sailor, to name a few. When released in 1984, this musical won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for an astounding 10 Tonys, including Best Musical.

I am a big fan of Stephen Sondheim but I have never gotten around to listening to or seeing the show. I went into this production only knowing that it was about a painting and who was in it. Coming out of the show, I was tired from all of the information that was thrown at me, and I mean that in the best way possible. The story has so much depth to it and the U of I has depicted that really well. No singular plot was started and never finished. While I don’t have much to compare this performance to, I know that they are living up to a lot with the original production, including actors Bernadette Peters, known for her involvement in Sondheim productions, and Mandel Bruce Patinkin, known more for playing Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride.” I don’t think they were trying to be those people, which really sets this performance apart from others. The actors developed their own sense of what the characters would do in the situations given, with lovely direction.

I thoroughly enjoyed the acting, whether they were singing about how warm it is outside or having a vicious conversation about art. The music in this show is not easy, simply put. Sondheim never makes it easy. I can tell how much these actors put into this show to perfect their actions and their musicality. And don’t forget the pit, who executed the seemingly simple (but obviously isn’t) score.

The set was magnificent. The lights were seamless. The projections were creative. Not every theater company can pull that off, but the university did and they did it well. If you decide to attend a performance this weekend, you should expect a large frame that extends to the edges of the stage, surrounding the performance space. This provides a scene for what the artist would see but also can transform into a painting studio or an art gallery. It doesn’t distract you. Also, the lights will change with projections of backdrops to fully change the space. There isn’t much to say about the technical aspects, as they were so natural that I would have to really focus to find mistakes.

If you are staying in town for spring break, I would highly recommend you see this production. While people who aren’t familiar with theater may be a bit thrown off, I think this show can be for everyone (maybe not small children, as it is a bit fast-paced). The remaining show dates include March 14-16 at 8:00 pm at E.C. Mabie Theatre. I would strongly advise everyone to see this, as there aren’t a lot of opportunities to see this wonderful show in general, so having the opportunity to see a very good collegiate production is one that everyone should consider taking.

About the Writer
Lindy Rublaitus, A&E Editor

Lindy is a senior and a second year journalist for the Little Hawk. This year she is A&E editor and is excited to cover all the special events going...

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LH Review: Sunday in the Park With George