The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Tony-winning actresses will star in the Ravinia Festival's production of Sunday in the Park with George in September 2004. Sunday, loosely based on the life of painter Georges Seurat, is the fourth production of a five-year celebration of noted composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The Chicago festival previously presented Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music and Passion.
This marks the third Sondheim production to co-star LuPone and McDonald. They previously appeared in the Lincoln Center Sweeney Todd concert and starred in the Ravinia's mounting of Passion this past summer. McDonald will play Dot in the Ravinia Sunday with LuPone as Yvonne. Other roles have yet to be cast in the musical, which will feature direction by Lonny Price and musical direction by Paul Gemignani.
A Tony Award winner for her work in Evita, Patti LuPone also earned an Olivier Award for her performances in the West End productions of Lés Misérables and The Cradle Will Rock. Her other theatrical credits include Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class and Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo concerts, Patti LuPone On Broadway and Matters of the Heart, and received glowing notices for her performance as Mrs. Lovett in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.
A three-time Tony Award winner for her work in Master Class, Carousel and Ragtime, Audra McDonald was most recently on Broadway in the title role of Marie Christine. The singer-actress recently made her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut in an evening of songs scored for big bands, performing several tunes from her Nonesuch CD "Happy Songs." McDonald's other solo recordings, "Way Back to Paradise" and "How Glory Goes," are also on the Nonesuch label. She also co-starred in the recent NBC series "Mister Sterling.”
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.