As previously announced, Tony Award winners Audra McDonald, Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone will head the cast as, respectively, Dot, George and Yvonne. They will be joined by Sharon Carlson (Old Lady), Lucia Spina (Nurse), Richard Marlatt (Jules), Chris Garbrecht (Boatman), Johanna McKenzie Miller (Celeste 1/Fantasy Dot), Karla L. Beard (Celeste 2/Fantasy Dot), Rae Gray (Louise), Gary Alexander (Franz), Roberta Duchak (Frieda), Matt Pearson (Soldier), Stephen Wallem (Louis), Joseph Bowen (Mr.), Lucia Spina (Mrs.), Stephen Colella (Ensemble Man) and Kelly Cronin (Ensemble Woman) with "Seurats" played by Joshua Johnston, Jacob Langfelder, Travis Turner, Dawen Wang, Michael Witwer and Chris Yonan.
Sunday will mark a reunion for McDonald, Cerveris and LuPone, who co-starred in the Ravinia's production of Sondheim's Passion last summer. Lonny Price, who helmed the Passion mounting, will direct here as well with Paul Gemignani conducting the Ravinia Festival Orchestra.
The Ravinia is celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer, and Sunday in the Park with George is part of the theatre's Sondheim 75 series, a five year salute to the works of the famed composer, which will culminate in 2005 with Sondheim's 75th birthday. To date, the Ravinia has presented stagings of Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music and the aforementioned Passion.
In a statement Ravinia Festival President and CEO Welz Kauffman said, "One of the great songs of Sunday in the Park with George is 'Children and Art.' Ravinia has long been dedicated to both. How appropriate that in this centennial season of our beautiful park, we get to present an important work that seems to be custom-made for Ravinia’s picturesque setting. . . .Ravinia Festival’s music theater initiative investigates the symbiotic relationship between drama and music, and we selected Stephen Sondheim to be the centerpiece of this initiative because his works so successfully explore and exploit the color, weight and grandeur of the orchestra. I have been extremely gratified that lawn audiences have grown for our Sondheim concerts, because this shows that people recognize the musical value of works originally conceived as theatrical events.”
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George originally opened at Broadway's Booth Theatre on May 2, 1984, where it ran for 540 performances. Starring Mandy Patinkin as George and Bernadette Peters as Dot, the premiere Broadway company also included Barbara Bryne as the Old Lady, Brent Spiner as Franz, Charles Kimbrough as Jules and Dana Ivey as Yvonne. Sondheim's score — which was nominated for a Tony Award — features such titles as "Finishing the Hat," "Putting It Together," "Children and Art," "Move On" and "Beautiful." Sunday in the Park received ten Tony Award nominations, winning two—Scenic Designer (Tony Straiges) and Lighting Designer (Richard Nelson). It was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Sunday in the Park with George will play the Ravinia Festival Sept. 3 and 4 at 8 PM and Sept. 5 at 7 PM. The Ravinia theatre is located in Highland Park, IL; for more information, go to www.ravinia.org.