Jason Danieley, Carmen Cusack, Linda Stephens, Ben Magnuson Will Paint Chicago's Sunday in the Park With George
By Kenneth Jones
Jason Danieley, of Broadway's Candide, Curtains, The Full Monty and Next to Normal, will play George in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's fall production of Sunday in the Park With George, directed by Gary Griffin.
The 1983 musical rumination on making art (and its toll on an artist's personal life) has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine. The groundbreaking show won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Performances will play CST's Courtyard Theater on Navy Pier Sept. 26-Nov. 4.
Griffin directed last season's Follies at CST, and staged Broadway's The Color Purple and The Apple Tree. He is associate artistic director at CST.
The show has what you might call local color. The central visual idea in the show is French impressionist Georges Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884," which hangs at the Art Institute of Chicago. Act One is about Seurat's monomania in the late 19th century, while Act Two focuses on an American artist-heir of his who is struggling with "the art of making art" 100 years later.
Carmen Cusack, who toured as Nellie in the Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific, will play Dot — Seurat's muse. In Act Two, she is Marie, the American George's grandmother.
Casting was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.
The company will also feature Linda Stephens as Blair/Old Lady, Rachel Cantor as Celeste 1/Naomi Eisen, McKinley Carter as Yvonne/Betty, Derek Hasenstab as Franz/Dennis, Heidi Kettenring as Mrs./Frieda, Sean Fortunato as Jules/Alex, Kevin Gudahl as Mr./Bob Greenberg, Ora Jones as Nurse/Harriet Pauling, Michael Aaron Lindner as Louis/Billy Webster, William Travis Taylor as Soldier/Lee Randolph, Elizabeth Lanza as Celeste 2, Benjamin Magnuson as Boatman/Charles Redmond and Madison Olszewski as the little girl, Louise.
The production's musical director is Brad Haak.
For more about the Tony Award-winning CST, which is under the direction of artistic director Barbara Gaines and executive director Criss Henderson, visit chicagoshakes.com.
Jason Danieley and his wife, Marin Mazzie, are among artists performing on Playbill's Broadway on the High Seas 2 Cruise to South America this December. It's sold out, but a starry 2013 cruise is now booking. Recordings featuring Danieley are available at PlaybillStore.com.
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