Stephen Sondheim unites mothers, music and art in a controversial classic.
While running over two hours and fifteen minutes (with intermission) and featuring dangerously eclectic song structures among its more traditional musical numbers, Porchlight Music Theatre’s pastel sparked production of Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize winning Sunday in the Park with George (inspired by French painter Georges Suerat’s masterful painting) may seem like a daunting theatrical experience for some.
Still, many women will be moved to tears by the message in Sondheim’s final number, “Move On.” Uniting a grandmother and grandson (in a dreamily elliptical way), the song speaks about the difficulty of making decisions and the numerous fears faced by the uncertainty of their outcomes–emotions those raising children in these tremulous times face daily. The simple assurance within the song’s beginning moments that while some choices may be wrong, ‘choosing is not’ is a statement that still encourages and blesses twenty-seven years after this challenging piece’s original run.
Indeed, despite its many accolades (including multiple Tony Awards) the production’s ponderous beauty has been dividing critics since its inception.
Porchlight’s tight production does not provide firm answers on the piece’s overall validity, but does offer up a truly interesting experience for those who want to question, and be intrigued by, their entertainment choices.
Ultimately, this version of Sunday in the Park with George truly reveals the ardent, polarizing faith it takes to be an artist and the true and powerful love that exists between a mother and child.
Featuring solid direction by L. Walter Stearns, the rapturous tones of Jess Godwin as Dot and the superior comic talents of Sarah Hayes and Heather Townsend, Sunday in the Park with George runs through October 31st at Stage 773 in Chicago, IL. Tickets can be purchased at www.stage773.com or by calling 773-327-5252.