New in 2017 Jake Gyllenhaal makes his Broadway musical debut alongside Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford in the this Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece about French pointillist painter George Seurat.
From the producers: This Pulitzer Prize-winning musical follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed by his need to "finish the hat," Seurat alienates the French bourgeoisie, spurns his fellow artists, and neglects his lover Dot, not realizing that his actions will reverberate over the next 100 years.
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic is back on Broadway in its second revival, a transfer of the critically-acclaimed 2016 New York City Center concert production. Jake Gyllenhaal ("Constellations") and Annaleigh Ashford ("Kinky Boots," "You Can't Take It With You"), who both earned unanimous raves for their performances, return to their roles. The production re-opens the historic and newly-remodeled Hudson Theatre, the first Broadway production to play the space in almost 50 years. Here's an audio excerpt accompanied by still images of the concert production:
The Sondheim-Lapine work premiered at Broadway's Booth Theatre in 1984, where it ran for 604 performances. Starring Mandy Patinkin as George and Bernadette Peters as Dot, the production received ten Tony Award nominations, winning two for scenic design and lighting design. It was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The show was revived on Broadway in 2008, in a Roundabout Theatre Company production that was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Revival of a Musical.
Marvelous...directed with blood-racing immediacy...this "Sunday" retains the frills-free elegance of a concert presentation. Gyllenhaal translates [his] intensity into a searing theatrical presence. Ashford [delivers] spontaneous warmth and eloquent singing. The supporting cast ground their characters with quick, vivid strokes that avoid both sketchiness and caricature.
Neither Gyllenhaal nor the amusing Ashford can lift the skimpy, pedestrian production to the sublime level of the previous Broadway presentations. The direction is routine. Gyllenhaal [gives] an assured all-around performance. He doesn't yet, though, have the stage charisma that might enable him to carry a show on his shoulders. And that's the kind of boost this undernourished production would need in order to be compelling.