A year ago today, Watch This opened A Little Night Music at the National Theatre Melbourne. Twelve months and three Green Room Award nominations later, they are announcing the full cast for Sunday in the Park with George, their next, much-anticipated Sondheim production.
Joining previously announced Nick Simpson-Deeks (George), Vidya Makan (Dot) and Jackie Rees (George’s Mother) in the cast is Anton Berezin, Grace Browne, Anthony Craig, Josh Direen, Courtney Glass, Lauren Goetz, Winston Hillyer, Georgina Hopson, Sarah Krndija, Angela Lumicisi, Jordon Mahar, Greta Wilkinson and Raphael Wong.
Paris 1884: George Seurat strives to transform the way we see. While he sketches in a park, preoccupied with composition, balance, light and harmony, his subjects are busy wrestling with life in a changing world – in particular, his muse and mistress, Dot, who feels both alive and invisible within his gaze.
A century on, another visual artist – also named George – faces a similar dilemma as he attempts to forge a new direction amidst the pressure of high-end commissions and the merciless glare of New York critics.
Inspired by Seurat’s Impressionist painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – Sunday in the Park with George is a masterpiece in its own right. Stephen Sondheim (music & lyrics) and James Lapine (book) bring the past into the present tense, with poignant and painful truths about life, love, the creation of art and the struggle to be seen.
“Sunday in the Park with George is our largest cast yet. And once again, we’ve set ourselves the challenge of taking the show on the road!” says Artistic Director, Sonya Suares, who is co-directing this year alongside Dean Drieberg.
“We’re thrilled to have a number of Watch This artists returning to play with us again in this cast: Nick Simpson-Deeks, Vidya Makan, Anton Berezin, Greta Wilkinson, Raphael Wong and of course, the extraordinary Jackie Rees, who was just nominated for a Green Room Award her turn as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music.
“And we’re equally chuffed to welcome a slew of exciting new artists to the family: Grace Browne, Anthony Craig, Josh Direen, Courtney Glass, Lauren Goetz, Winston Hillyer, Georgina Hopson, Sarah Krndija, Angela Lumicisi and Jordon Mahar.”
According to Suares, around a third of the house is already sold at The Lawler, so do get in quick to secure your seats. “We are pushing the envelope again, with this production, particularly in terms of the design. But that’s what we do,” says Suares. “What can I say, we’re an ambitious outfit!”
Sunday in the Park with George won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for design (and a nomination for Best Musical), numerous Drama Desk Awards, the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Musical and the 2007 Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production. The musical has enjoyed many revivals throughout America, the UK and Australia.
“The gift of this production is its quiet insistence that looking is the art by which people shape their lives.” – New York Times
Sunday in the Park with George opens at the Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading (9 & 10 August), before playing the Geelong Performing Arts Centre (15 – 17 August) and the Lawler Theatre – Southbank Theatre (21 – 24 August 2019). For more information, visit: www.watchthis.net.au for details.
Image: The Cast of Sunday in the Park with George (supplied)