Julian Ovenden, Michael Starobin and More Paint a New Sunday in the Park with George in Paris

By St
16 Apr 2013

Lee Blakeley

Lee Blakeley (Director)
Sunday in the Park With George is Lee Blakeley's third Sondheim musical at Théâtre du Châtelet after A Little Night Music (2010) and Sweeney Todd (2011).

About Sunday in the Park With George and how an artist relates to it:
"It's such a smart piece, but it also has a great deal of heart to it: The fact that it's about the nature of creation, which is, I suppose, what we do. So I think we understand it from that point of view, but what makes the piece really work is that it looks at artists and comments on them: 'Yes, it's a joyous thing to make these works, but it's equally joyous to be in the human world as well. Do you compromise in your work? In your life?' The show asks very smart questions. [As a creative artist], I think it's impossible not to relate to it when you spend days and weeks, looking at the score, the paintings, the models, and you lose track of time, and the outside world disappears. People who are very passionate about their work can become so absorbed by it that they lose track of everything else that's going on. That's [the song] 'Finishing The Hat.' I do understand that and in my own life, and I try to keep a balance between work and life."

About French audiences and Sondheim's musicals:
"The response has been absolutely phenomenal and it always makes me laugh, because I get told all over the world: 'You do musicals in France? French don't like musicals!' That's not my experience. Making these shows, and seeing the reactions, it seems like there is a huge appetite for it. The French audiences seem to love coming to the Châtelet, and that's what Mr Choplin [director of Théâtre du Châtelet] has done: He's created a place where these things can happen."

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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 and Bernadette Peters. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical chronicles the life of maverick French impressionist Georges Seurat during the creation of his now-celebrated masterpiece, "Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte."

For more information, visit chatelet-theatre.com. View videos from the production here. Stéphane Ly-Cuong is a Paris-based freelance writer and director (stephane.lycuong@gmail.com).



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