Sunday in the Park with George, with Panaro, Opens at 5th Avenue Theatre April 23

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23 Apr 2009

Hugh Panaro
Hugh Panaro
Ben Strothmann
The Sam Buntrock revival of Sunday in the Park with George, starring Hugh Panaro as the pointillist painter, officially opens at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle April 23.

The resident 5th Avenue Theatre production reunites the award-winning creative team who delivered the heralded multimedia revival of Sunday in the Park with George to audiences in London and New York in 2008. The 5th Avenue production of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical marks the first regional presentation of this version.

As in London and on Broadway, Buntrock directs. The musical began performances April 21 and continues through May 10. The Seattle production is the first incarnation of the Buntrock revival to incorporate a full orchestra; 5th Avenue's resident musical director Ian Eisendrath conducts.

Panaro (The Phantom of the Opera, Lestat, Side Show) stars as painter Georges Seurat alongside Billie Wildrick as his muse, Dot (and also, Marie). The cast also features Carol Swarbick (An Old Lady/Blair Daniels), Anne Allgood (Mrs./Harriet Pawling), Nick DeSantis (Franz/Lee Randolph), Matt Owen (The Soldier/Alex), Chad Jennings (Bather/Louis/Billy Webster), Allen Fitzpatrick (Jules/Bob Greenberg), Patti Cohenour (Yvonne/Naomi Eisen), David Drummond (Boatman/Dennis), Amanda Paulson (Celeste/Elaine), Krista Severeid (Celeste1), Susannah Mars (Frieda/Betty), Richard Gray (Mr./Charles Redmond) and Lauren Carlos and Keaton Whittaker, who alternate as Bather/Louise.

The musical's scenic design and computer animation effects are created by director Buntrock and designers Tim Bird and David Farley, who also designed the costumes. The production also features choreography by Christopher Gattelli and sound design by Ken Travis.



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.