Jake Gyllenhaal makes his Broadway musical debut alongside Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford in the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Sunday In the Park with George.
The three-night only production at City Center was one of the most rapturously acclaimed theatrical events of the season, and now it is headed to Broadway to open the highly-anticipated new Hudson Theatre where it will play a strictly limited engagement for 10 weeks only. Be there for this stunning musical about the art of making art—this is not your ordinary Sunday.
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece follows painter Georges Seurat (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Consumed by his need to “finish the hat,” Seurat alienates the French bourgeoisie, spurns his fellow artists, and neglects his lover Dot (Annaleigh Ashford), not realizing that his actions will reverberate over the next 100 years.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s got it, by George! A handsome, nimble singing voice to go with his solid acting chops, that is. It’s all on exhibition in Broadway’s wonderful revival of “Sunday in the Park with George” at the newly renovated Hudson Theatre.
He is a thorny soul, a man neither happy nor particularly kind, and not someone you’d be likely to befriend. But when the 19th-century French painter Georges Seurat, reincarnated in the solitary flesh by a laser-focused Jake Gyllenhaal, demands that you look at the world as he does, it’s impossible not to fall in love.
Or something deeper than love — closer to religious gratitude — is the sentiment you may experience in the finale that concludes the first act of the marvelous revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Sunday in the Park With George,” which opened on Thursday night at the newly restored Hudson Theater.
Ashford is more than Gyllenhaal's match. As Dot, she is not simply relegated to being Georges’ decorative muse and romantic partner. Dot is his emotional equal. She is thorny, and far from compliant. She forces him to examine what he does, and why he does it. We don’t yearn for them to be together, and Sondheim and Lapine deliberately jettison the conventions of romantic narrative to ensure oddly that their relationship is not the center of the show; the troublesome animus of art is, and art stays there.