It’s Double Take December at Musical Cyberspace! Every musical pretty much has something one likes and something one doesn’t in it. This month I’ll be listing one of each for a range of musicals, a different one each day.

Today’s musical is Sunday in the Park with George.

Something I Like: James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George is great theatre and there is much to admire in it. “Sunday” is one of the most thrillingly beautiful numbers to appear in a musical ever. “We Do Not Belong Together” is one of the most heartbreaking numbers to appear in a musical ever. The first act offers pure catharsis on an epic scale. Brilliant stuff.

Something I Don’t Like: I understand completely why the second act is there. I find some of the second act just as moving as the first. But it doesn’t work as well: the section dealing with the Chromolume feels a bit clunky to me and then the resolution comes just too easily for me to buy it wholesale. Fortunately the reprise of “Sunday” largely manages to distract one from that because it is, as it was in Act I, such a beautiful piece of music.

Feel free to share your “double take” on Sunday in the Park with George in the comment box!

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1 Response to Double Take December: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

  1. theoneanne says:

    Oh yay!

    What I like: I think Act I of Sunday is pretty close to perfect. Apart from the fact that “Sunday” always makes me cry–especially when Georges leads Dot to her place in the front with the monkey. It’s even moving in a teeny tiny shack of a theater on a college campus (that’s kind of my litmus test for a show’s emotional punch). I also love how Sondheim subtly gives each of the characters their own musical style–not just Georges and Dot, the obvious ones, but the soldier, the gossipy girls, the nurse, the German servants, Jules and Yvonne. I was just thinking about the soldiers, and how their bit of “The Day Off” is really quite martial and military-sounding, but without being so obvious that you notice consciously. Not to mention that he gives us artists some fun sound bytes for our Facebook statuses–“Work is what you do for others, liebchen!” ETA: And of course, “Finishing the Hat,” which I forgot about until just now. Duh.

    What I don’t like: Act II is troublesome. I like it and I find it entertaining, and some of it is also very moving (“Children and Art”–speaking of good artist quotations!–and “Move On” and “Lesson #8”), but I find it jarring as well. And I think what’s so great about Act I of Sunday is that not only is it moving, but parts of it are genuinely funny. That’s what I love about Sondheim shows in general, actually–with the exception of Passion (well, unless you’re making fun of it, which I admit to doing, er, sometimes), they can be poignant and hilarious at the same time. Look at “Everybody Loves Louis”–brilliant comedic song, plus “We lose things, and then we choose things…” I feel like Act II strives for the same combination of wit and beauty and falls short. And my least favorite part of the whole show is the Chromolume presentation. I love “Putting It Together,” but I don’t like laughing at Marie’s expense when she gets confused during the presentation. What with the lines she’s given, and the fact that it’s already Dot in old-person drag, it always feels a little cheap to me.

    Sunday isn’t my favorite Sondheim show, actually, but it does have its exceptional moments. And I would love to be a part of it, someday.

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