Tony Sunday in the Park Without George

As a relative youngin’, there are still so many classics that I have yet to see, and this season, I got to cross Sunday in the Park with George off that list. A beautiful production, directed by Sarna Lapine, the show was everything I wanted and more. The show is a masterpiece, so I won’t spend my time lauding Stephen Sondheim or James Lapine, because everyone else has already done that. Ms. Lapine manages to capture the beauty and pain that goes into creating art. The show itself was visually stunning, with a simple, yet effective scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, which was enhanced by Tal Yarden’s projections. Clint Ramos’ costume were absolutely gorgeous. Ken Billington’s lighting design, particularly the chromolumes, was excellent.

While it’s lovely to see a piece about the creation of art want to stand on its own, and bask in starry reviews, I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t mentioned at all during the Tony telecast last night. I know the producers decided to remove the show from contention for awards, but the show was an absolute highlight of the season for me, so it was a shame that the show wasn’t part of the telecast at all. While I understand that closing the show in April meant that award nominations wouldn’t factor in to their run at all, I guess I’m used to ranking art and the weird competitive nature we as a society feel we must place on art, one of the most subjective areas there are. The producers stood on the moral highground that seems crazy in this industry, and I have to respect them for wanting their piece to stand on its own. Despite that, I have to say that the show surely would have been nominated for for Best Revival. And I would imagine that Jake Gyllenhaal would finally get nominated for Best Actor (I’m still mad that he wasn’t nominated for Constellations), and I could have seen Annaleigh Ashford sneak in as a Best Actress nominee.

The whole cast is stellar, and it was so heartwarming to see Ruthie Anne Miles and Ashley Park back on stage together again. It’s always nice to see two amazing Asian American actors on stage, especially cast in roles that aren’t traditionally Asian. And to stay on brand, it was also lovely to see (and hear) Philip Boykin, a much darker man than the real boatman in the painting. It sounds so simple, but it truly is remarkable to cast talented actors of colors in roles that are traditional white. So thank you, Ms. Lapine, for recognizing the importance of casting decisions in 2017!

A compelling story on the passion and sacrifices it takes to make art, Sunday in the Park with George was a brilliant production that lived up to the heaps of praise given to this show. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the the cast album to relive the best moments, and inevitably cry in the comfort of my own home. Yay for casting Asians just because! Yay for creating beautiful, moving pieces of theater! And yay for everyone’s sacrifices to create this wonderfully complex thing called art!


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