Sunday in the Park with George

Strong ensemble work in this somewhat vexing musical of art and perception by Stephen Sondheim: individual voices, well blended, especially in “Putting It Together.” The comic breaks are effective, particular Paul Scanlan’s salty Boatman in the first act and George’s (Claybourne Elder) “duet” of the two dogs in the park.

There’s a thoughtful conversation about permanence in the scene between George and his mother, Old Lady (Donna Migliaccio): what is merely “pretty” is subject to alteration; the perceiving eye is necessary to transform something, anything into being beautiful, and hence into something that lasts.

Nothing in Act 2 can match the majestic finale of the first (“Sunday”), and so the second half feels like a few comments on the first. But the vocal pianissimos, always harder to execute well than they seem, are well done.

  • Sunday in the Park with George, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, directed by Matthew Gardiner, Signature Theatre, Arlington

OTC and I both liked the nice touch of giving Jon Kalbfleisch’s orchestra its call via photographs projected with George’s chromolume screens.