Sunday in the Park with George May Be Heading to the West End

News   Sunday in the Park with George May Be Heading to the West End
The critically acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory production of Sunday in the Park with George is likely to transfer to the West End in 2006.

Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Co-producer David Babani confirmed to that he is in “advanced discussions” about a transfer but that he won’t know for sure for at least another three or four weeks.

The revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1984 musical is the first London production since the show’s U.K. premiere at the National Theatre in 1990. The Pulitzer Prize-winning show is based on the pointillist masterpiece “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat.

This latest production, directed by Sam Buntrock, features an abridged second act and animation by projection designer Timothy Bird. In the show the cutting-edge technology brings Seurat’s work to life, allowing the figures in the painting to move around David Farley’s white-walled set.

The cast is led by Daniel Evans (Merrily We Roll Along) as George and Anna-Jane Casey as the painter’s lover, Dot.

“It would be in my wildest dreams,” says Babani of the prospect that Sunday in the Park will transfer to the West End. “We’re in discussions with three different theatre owners and various co-producers on both sides of the Atlantic. We’re not there yet, but it’s looking very likely. We’re looking at mid-to-small sized theatres. Six to eight hundred seats, that sort of thing.” The Chocolate Factory’s first West End transfer was Becky Mode’s Fully Committed (with Mark Setlock), which moved into the Arts Theatre in October 2004.

Twenty-eight year-old producer Babani added that both Sondheim and Lapine have complimented the Sunday production and expressed no reservations about the cuts.

Babani is also the Menier Chocolate Factory’s artistic director. With business partner and co-producer Danielle Tarento, the impresario took over the venue, which is situated near London Bridge in Southwark, in October 2003.

The converted industrial space — built in 1870 and once a chocolate factory — has since become London’s highest profile fringe venue, winning the London Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Newcomer and the Up and-coming studio venue of the year in 2005’s Peter Brook/Empty Space Awards.

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