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SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
Musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine.
Lyttelton Theatre National Theatre London
This was the show's London West End premiere.
In nineteenth-century France, Georges (Philip Quast) struggles with his art and his personal life. George is completely engrossed in his artwork - in particular A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - when his pregnant girlfriend, Dot (Maria Friedman), leaves him to find a more supportive man. Meanwhile, Georges continues on with life, repainting anything he finds unpleasant. In Act Two, the musical takes places in America in 1984. Now, Georges' great-grandson, George (Philip Quast), is struggling to find inspiration in his artwork. He is helped when the spirit of Dot returns with some wise words.
Sunday in the Park with George was the first of three musicals created by Stephen Sondheim with writer and director James Lapine. The other ones being Into the Woods and Passion. (The London West End production of Passion also featured Maria Friedman).
The performance on Wednesday 14 March 1990 was a Royal Gala performance.
At the 1991 Olivier Awards Sunday in the Park with George won two awards and was nominated for another four:
Quotes From The Press
"...The concept is more than worthy of its Pultizer Prize. The music, like the painting, comes in sharp, precise points with sounds replacing colour. And if nothing of this fires your imagination or thrills your admiration as it does mine, then go and see the iridescent Maria Friedman give glorious life to Dot, the downtrodden semi-literate mistress Seurat immortalised with gaint perspective in the forefront of his painting..." Jack Tinker, The Daily Mail (16 March 1990)
"...Maria Friedman, doubling as the artist's mistress and daughter, combines a powerful voice with accessible wit." Tessa Finch, The Daily Expres (19 March 1990)
"...Maria Friedman (as Dot) doesn't always give Sondheim's dazzling lyrics their due, but she has a splendid voice and launched the evening in bracing style with the title number..." Clive Hirschhorn, The Sunday Express (18 March 1990)
"...Friedman's spirited Dot is the only principal whose voice and personality both come strongly over the footlights..." Benedict Nightingale, The Times (16 March 1990)
"...Maria Friedman, as both Dot and her 98 year old daughter Marie, also confirms she is an authentic star: she brings an earthy comedy to the chafing restrictions of Dot's existence, sings with note-true poignancy and has the gift of what Stanislavski called 'public solitude'..." David Billington, The Guardian (17 March 1990)
"...Maria Friedman acts hauntingly and sings beautifully as the mistress..." Kenneth Hurren, The Mail on Sunday (18 March 1990)
"...Maria Friedman is perky and delightful as Seurat's mistress, but as a squealing bent grandmother she makes a grating, unlikely old lady..." Milton Shulman, The London Evening Standard (16 March 1990)
"...There is also a very strong performance from Maria Friedman as Seurat's mistress, Dot, an uneducated girl who is shamelessly exploited by him but remains humorous and resilient to the last..." John Gross, The Sunday Telegraph (18 March 1990)
"...Maria Friedman's marvellous performance as Dot, which manages to suggest (sometimes simultaneously) the earthy, grumpily frustrated girl who would rather be at the Folies and the sensitive young woman who has been spiritually awakened by the beauty of her lover's art..." Irving Wardle, The Independent on Sunday (18 March 1990)
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