Sunday in the Park with George [2006 London Revival Cast Recording]

Sunday in the Park with George [2006 London Revival Cast Recording]

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by 2006 London Cast
     
 

Songwriter Stephen Sondheim and librettist James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George, an examination of the life of the artist as seen through a fictional depiction of Georges Seurat's creation of the pointillist masterpiece Un Dimanche d'été á l'île de la Grande Jatte (A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande JatteSee more details below

Overview

Songwriter Stephen Sondheim and librettist James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George, an examination of the life of the artist as seen through a fictional depiction of Georges Seurat's creation of the pointillist masterpiece Un Dimanche d'été á l'île de la Grande Jatte (A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte) (1884-1986), was highly regarded during its Broadway run in 1984-1985, winning both a Pulitzer Prize and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. It did, however, garner some criticism, both for Sondheim's score, which, like Seurat's painting, was constructed more of lyrical and musical fragments than conventional songs (surprisingly, Sondheim lost the Tony Award for scoring to Jerry Herman and La Cage aux Folles), and for the second act, which took the story into the present day and created a great-grandson for Seurat who was a contemporary artist. For many, the initial production, starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, was definitive, and although there have been subsequent stagings, none was recorded for the next 22 years, when PS Classics, an independent label known for its association with Sondheim, undertook to preserve the version done by London's Menier Chocolate Factory theater company just as it was about to transfer to a West End house (it opened at Wyndham's Theatre on May 23, 2006). Musical theater fans will first want to note that the recording is longer than the original, which was pressed initially on two LPs, later reissued as a single CD, and ran nearly 69 minutes; this one, on two CDs, runs almost 90 minutes. The extra time is given over to relatively minor additions, although due to the structure of the score, having extra fragments helps the overall picture of the show to be appreciated more clearly. And the producers have included a bonus for fans, not only restoring the brief song "The One on the Left," but, at the end of disc two, including a special, longer version of the song as it was originally written; it proves yet another example of Sondheim's remarkable talent for wordplay. The major differences between this recording and the first one concern the music and the accents, however. The show has been re-orchestrated by Jason Carr for a small band of only five pieces (though there are some added musicians), which gives the score more of the chamber feeling that some observers preferred when the show was given its first tryout at the Off-Broadway Playwrights Horizons theater company in 1983. And the director has opted to have the actors sing in British accents throughout the first act, which creates a new element of interpretation since, for example, Seurat speaks in a middle-class accent while his mistress, Dot, has a distinctly lower class accent, reinforcing the differences between them. It might have been better to stick to the British accents in the second act, however (though that might have necessitated rewriting), since only Daniel Evans, in the lead role of George, manages a convincing American accent. He is also the standout performer otherwise, giving George a warmth and understatement, while managing, for example, the different dog voices George must imitate, without being nearly as showy as Mandy Patinkin was. Jenna Russell has the frankly impossible task of following Bernadette Peters, and while she creates an appealing and varied Dot, she really can't compete. Maybe, in retrospect, the Original Broadway cast album of Sunday in the Park with George was definitive. But musical theater fans are likely to find enough different shades and added features in this second version to find it worth hearing.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/30/2006
Label:
P.S. Classics
UPC:
0803607064020
catalogNumber:
640
Rank:
53945

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

2006 London Cast   Primary Artist
Original Cast Recording   Indexed Contributor
Martin Agee   Musician
Clay Ruede   Musician
Simon Green   Vocals
Kay Bywater   Woodwind
Liza Sadovy   Vocals
Gay Soper   Vocals
Jenna Russell   Vocals
Lawrence A. Dibello   Musician
Alasdair Harvey   Vocals
Daniel Evans   Vocals
Jessica Boyd   Violin
Lauren Calpin   Vocals
Christopher Colley   Vocals
Sarah French-Ellis   Vocals
Kaisa Hammarlund   Vocals
Ben Hess   Cello
Caroline Humphris   Piano
Rosalind Jones   Keyboards
Steven Kynman   Vocals
Anna Lowe   Vocals
Joanne Redman   Vocals
Natalie Paris   Vocals
Lawrence DiBello   Musician
Ian McKerracher   Vocals

Technical Credits

Stephen Sondheim   Songwriter,Composer,Text
Philip Chaffin   Executive Producer
Tommy Krasker   Producer,Executive Producer
Joe Lambert   Mastering
Tom Lazarus   Engineering
Thomas Z. Shepard   Audio Production
James Lapine   Book
John Costa   Art Direction
Jason Gaines   Editorial Coordinator
Bart Migal   Engineer
Tara Wilkinson   Choreographer
Matthew Wolf   Liner Notes
Sean Patrick Flahaven   Liner Notes,Synopsis
Tristram Kenton   Production Photography
David Babani   Producer,Executive Producer
Sam Buntrock   Director
Caroline Humphris   Music Direction
John Costa   Art Direction
Matt Wolf   Liner Notes
Danielle Tarento   Producer
Georges Seurat   Cover Art

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