in the Park with George
Oak Park Journal
September 8, 2004
by Ed Vincent
Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Lapine were on stage promptly at 7:00 pm to speak about their collaboration and discuss questions raised by the members of the audience. One of the members had written to Mr. Sondheim concerning what he would like to be remembered by or for. Stephen Sondheim responded: " Posterity doesn't interest me." Another person asked if both men had seen the current Seurat exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, both men replied in the affirmative and Mr. Sondheim noted; "Those of you who have not yet seen it....run." ( the exhibit concludes on September 19, 2004.."It is a wonderful show" OPJ)
One question question was raised as to whether or not the two men had thought about doing another collaboration in the near future. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine said that they would each be pleased to work together again and that they were just looking for the right subject. Mr. Sondheim noted that they would both be pleased if people in the audience would be so kind as to leave them some suggestions in a jar at the end of the show. The audience appreciated their value and gave the response of laughs and then some more. I am not sure if someone had a jar later or left any notes.
The director Lonny Price did a wonderful job, with a wonderful cast, in a grand Pavilion, on a glorious evening, to the joy of all. This was a two layered stage (one above and behind the other) and featured slide projected images of relevant art and designs. The lighting was focused and ready to show the mostly white costumes of those portraying the figures of visitors to the park.
Seurat and his five doppelgängers surrey about the higher level of the stage as moments in time are frozen with the alter egos, each doing their best to assist in the formation of the largest impressionists painting of all time. The clones appear from time to time and in different periods of Seurat's development.
We had seen this play, as a different production at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater a number of years ago. The one at Ravinia is large and innovative on all fronts, it should run for weeks not days...so please hurry and get your tickets. You can see the production from the outside since much of it is elevated and as always get to the park early.
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