Well, Hello, George: Hugh Panaro to Star in 5th Avenue Theatre's Sunday in the Park

News   Well, Hello, George: Hugh Panaro to Star in 5th Avenue Theatre's Sunday in the Park Broadway actor Hugh Panaro (The Phantom of the Opera, Lestat) will star in the title role of the 5th Avenue Theatre's upcoming production of the award-winning Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Sunday in the Park with George.
Hugh Panaro
Hugh Panaro Photo by Ben Strothmann

The production, which opens at the Seattle venue April 23 (preview begin April 21), will be the only one outside of New York and London to include the effects designed for London's Menier Chocolate Factory production, which ultimately played Broadway. Those scenic design and computer animation effects were created by director Sam Buntrock and designers Tim Bird and David Farley.

Unlike London and Broadway, however, the Seattle production will boast a full orchestra, which will be conducted by 5th Avenue's resident musical director Ian Eisendrath.

Panaro will be joined onstage by Anne Allgood, Allen Fitzpatrick, Patti Cohenour, David Drummond, Richard Gray and Chad Jennings with Billie Wildrick as Dot.

Inspired by the life of French painter Georges Seurat, Sunday in the Park with George, press notes state, "follows the painter's creation of his masterpiece in a story that examines what an artist has left to give when he's given everything to his art. In the musical's first half, we see Seurat's epic vision, a huge canvas comprised not of brushstrokes but of colored dots of paint, come together piece by piece, while in the second half, his modern descendant (also named George) learns that 'art isn't easy' in a cultural scene that values cocktail chatter more than artistic intent."

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. The Olivier Award-winning production of Sunday, which was directed by Sam Buntrock with musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, originated at the tiny Menier venue in London and then moved to London's West End. The Broadway run was extended three times and played its final performance at Studio 54 June 29, 2008.

Tickets, priced $22-$81, are available by calling (206) 625-1900 or by visiting 5thavenue.org or the box office at 1308 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA.

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