Seurat's Masterpiece Comes To Musical Life in Surprise Sunday Performance at Art Institute (Video)
By Kenneth Jones
Think of it as an Impressionist flash mob. Visitors to the Art Institute of Chicago got a musical surprise on Sept. 16 when at the top of the museum's Grand Staircase leading to the Impressionist Galleries, a full-sized replica of Georges Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884" was installed but devoid of most of the foreground characters.
The costumed cast of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's upcoming production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical Sunday in the Park with George suddenly appeared for the visitors, who had been puzzled by the strange new version of the iconic pointillist painting.
The company, led by Jason Danieley as Seurat, sang the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical's Act One finale, "Sunday."
Afterward, the troupe walked down the Grand Staircase, out the main entrance of the Art Institute between the lions statue and onto a Chicago trolley. The trolley carried them up Michigan Avenue, along the city's Millennium Park and back to Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.
The unique musical is a rumination on artists' lives in the late 19th century (Act One) and late 20th century (Act Two). In Act One, Danieley plays Impressionist painter Georges Seurat, painting his masterpiece, which features his lover Dot (played by Carmen Cusack) in the painting's foreground. In Act Two, he is Seurat's heir, a 20th-century artist (also named George) struggling with his work and life as his grandmother, Marie (played by Cusack), who was the child of Seurat and Dot, looks on.
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View video highlights of the museum appearance here:
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