It’s Autumn! The time of year that invokes visions of a million shades of green morphing into gold and bronze, red and vermilion. Where I live, we don’t get much in the way of “fall foliage,” so my mind jumps to photographs and paintings.
Although Georges Seurat’s famous “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” was probably set sometime in the late part of the summer, the fashion depicted in his work hints that fall is on the verge, very much like the present time – late September!
100 years after Seurat painted his beautiful masterpiece, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine painted a beauty of their own based on Seurat’s painting – “SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.” The musical was honored with the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Awards for design (and a nom for Best Musical), and the original cast album was awarded a Grammy for Best Original Cast Show Album in a year that pitted Sondheim against Gershwin.
If you haven’t seen SUNDAY, look for it! Although it is MUCH better to see it on stage in a theatre, most of the original cast appears in the 1986 “American Playhouse” recording that has aired on PBS, and is, thankfully, available as an individual DVD or as part of an amazing Sondheim set of DVDs from Amazon thru this link. It’s a beautifully poignant tale of how one’s obsession with their art/career can rob one of the love of another, and the other beautiful things in life; and Sondheim’s score is just gorgeous.
This snippet is the Act I finale, and finds Georges Seurat (played by Mandy Patinkin) turning chaos into order as he stages his models for his composition. The scene includes a beautifully tender moment with his mistress/model, Dot (Bernadette Peters). (For you Trekkies out there, see if you can spot Brent Spiner (before his Star Trek Next Gen days).)