‘Sunday In the Park With George,’ Sondheim’s Ode to Artists

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (April 7, 2009) – Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Sunday in the Park with George, a dramatic musical centered on the life of impressionist painter Georges Seurat, will wrap up the 81st season of Cap and Bells Dramatic Arts Society, Saint Joseph’s University’s theatre production program. The show opens Wednesday, April 22 at 8 p.m. in Bluett Theatre, and runs through Sunday, April 26.

Renee Dobson, M.F.A., acting chair and associate professor of fine and performing arts and Cap and Bells co-artistic director, was drawn to the complex relationship between art and artist that Sondheim addresses. "The play was written as an anthem to all artists, acknowledging the difficulties that come with the lifestyle,” she said. “It depicts the sacrifices taken for art, and the toll those choices take on one’s personal life.”

The musical brings to life Georges Seurat's pointillist masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The story of George, the character that is based on Seurat, is told within the context of the painting. Despite the serene backdrop of the park, the stress George’s artistic profession puts on his personal life soon becomes clear, and is highlighted in his relationship with the fictional Dot, his longtime model and mistress.

Renowned stage director James Lapine wrote the book for the musical. Sondheim's music and lyrics brought Lapine's story to life on Broadway in 1984, garnering the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards in 1985. It was revived on Broadway in 2008 to great acclaim.

Dobson had Sondheim’s own stellar renown in mind for the spring production. "He is probably the most respected, innovative composer in musical theatre," she said.

Douglas Lutz of the Walnut Street Theatre will serve as musical director, and other guest artists include scene designer Thom Bumblauskas, costume designer Mary Folino, also of the Walnut Street Theatre, and Barrymore Award-winner Jim Leitner as lighting designer.

Performances run Wednesday through Saturday, April 22-25 at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, April 26 at 3 p.m. General admission is $16; students, employees and seniors pay $8. Bluett Theatre is located in Post Hall at 56th St. & Overbrook Avenue. For tickets, call 610-660-1181 or visit www.sju.edu/capandbells.

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240, patricia.allen@sju.edu

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