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A no-longer-forgotten Broadway classic: Sunday In The Park With George January 25, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Musicals, Theater.
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“Sunday”, the electrifying first-act finale to Stephen Sondheim’s masterwork, performed by the original Broadway cast including Mandy Patinkin as George and Bernadette Peters as Dot.


Given the numbers worshipping at the Altar of the Church of Sondheim, you might question whether SITPWG was ever really “forgotten”. I think it had the best original production to date of his mature works, which ironically may have led to its being underappreciated since there has been less clamor for a revival. And indeed, except for a one-night-only tenth-anniversary reunion of the original cast, the West End production that opens tonight on Broadway is its first NYC revival in twenty-three years.

I disagree with the conventional wisdom that the second act is weak; lose the second act and you lose “It’s Hot Up Here”, “Putting It Together” and “Move On”, not to mention the best line in the show: “I’m going back to NASA. There’s just too much pressure in this line of work.” (Yes, that’s Brent Spiner, Star Trek: TNG‘s Data, as first-act Franz and second-act Dennis.)

If Sweeney Todd deserves to be performed in opera houses and movie theaters, then so does this:

DOT
Are you working on something new?

GEORGE
No.

DOT
That is not like you, George.

GEORGE
I’ve nothing to say.

DOT
You have many things.

GEORGE
Well, nothing that’s not been said.

DOT
Said by you, though, George.

GEORGE
I do not know where to go.

DOT
And nor did I.

GEORGE
I want to make things that count,
Things that will be new …

DOT
I did what I had to do …

GEORGE
What am I to do?

DOT
Move on …

Stop worrying where you’re going —
Move on.
If you can know where you’re going,
You’ve gone.
Just keep moving on.

I chose, and my world was shaken —
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken,
The choosing was not.
You have to move on.

Look at what you want,
Not at where you are,
Not at what you’ll be —
Look at all the things you’ve done for me:

Opened up my eyes,
Taught me how to see,
Notice every tree —

GEORGE
… Notice every tree …

DOT
Understand the light —

GEORGE
… Understand the light …

DOT
Concentrate on now —

GEORGE
I want to move on.
I want to explore the light.
I want to know how to get through,
Through to something new,
Something of my own —

BOTH
Move on.
Move on.

DOT
Stop worrying it your vision
Is new.
Let others make that decision —
They usually do.
You keep moving on.

GEORGE (over)
Something in the light,
Something in the sky,
In the grass,
Up behind the trees …
Things I hadn’t looked at
Till now
Flower in your hat.
And your smile
And the color of your hair.

DOT (over)
Look at what you’ve done,
Then at what you want,
Not at where you are,
What you’ll be
Look at all the things
You gave to me
Let me give to you
Something in return
I would be so pleased …

GEORGE
… And the color of your hair.
And the way you catch the light.
And the care.
And the feeling.
And the life
Moving on.

DOT
We have always belonged
Together!

BOTH
We will always belong
Together!

DOT
Just keep moving on.
Anything you do,
Let it come from you.
Then it will be new.

Give us more to see …

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