And then there were 41.
Broadway’s roster of houses, where stars are born or confirmed, and where theater folks come in hopes of finding Tony glory, expanded by one Thursday night with the re-opening of the Hudson Theatre, recently taken over by the Ambassador Theatre Group, updated and restored to autumnal golden glory. To mark the occasion, ATG imported a celebrated concert revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer prize-winning musical Sunday In The Park With George, a revelatory production starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the Pointillist artist Georges Seurat and Annaleigh Ashford as his muse and lover, Dot.
Neither Gyllenhaal nor Ashford (nor anyone else involved in the show) will be eligible for Tonys, as the producers have withdrawn the production from consideration because its abbreviated run will limit their chances of recouping (not likely to be a problem, given the accolades). Nevertheless, their names will not soon disappear from the thoughts of Tony voters come spring, for what was clear when the show was presented last October is more so today: This is a spectacular revival and the principals are simply breathtakingly good. The performances are assured – indeed, they’ve only grown in confidence. Moreover, the semi-staging by Lapine’s niece, Sarna Lapine, with musical staging by Ann Yee, reveals (as if we needed reminding), one of the most beautiful, moving and endlessly inventive scores ever written, not to mention the equally ambitious and rewarding book that frames it.
There have been several cast changes from October, notably Robert Sean Leonard replacing Zachary Levi as George’s nemesis Jules, and Penny Fuller now plays George’s mother, in Act I, and an art critic in Act II – both terrific. All of the production values have been heightened and the Chromolume #7, of which I’ve now seen at least four different versions, has never been bettered. This one is the work of Tal Yarden and Christopher Ash.
This production runs only through April 23, and then it’s gone.