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Arvada Center closed out the 2017-18 season "with George"

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Sadly, the play has already closed; however, I was so taken with the production that I want to tell you about it. With Rod A. Lansberry at the helm, the story of George Seurat tells about the struggles the artist had as he created a new painting technique … he simply used a series of paint dots to bring his subjects to life. When viewing the painting up close, it was easy to see the individual dots; however, when viewing from a distance, the paintings spring to life.

The play set in 1884, spans over a century and in the 20th century, we are introduced to Seurat’s great-grandson, George, who is also an artist. Much like his great-grandfather, young George is trying to find his own artistic path. The results of his search are one of my favorite features of the play. Young George creates a fantastic robot which features multiple lasers complete with sound effects. I was entranced by the creativity of the robot.

The cast featured: Cole Burden (George Seurat/George), Emily Van Fleet (Dot/Marie), Billie McBride (Seurat’s mother/Blair Daniels), Boni  McIntyre (Nurse/Harriet Pawling), Jeffrey Roark (Jules/Bob Greenberg), Heather Lacy (Yvonne/Naomi Eisen), Robert Michael Sanders (Boatman/Charles Redmond), Lisa Kay Carter ( Celest #1/Waitress), Emily Luhrs (Celeste #2/Elaine), Lara Hunter (Louise or Young Girl), Sophia Dotson (Louise or Young Girl), Joe Callahan (Franz/Dennis), Abby Apple Boes (Frieda/Betty), Tony Edgerton (A Soldier/Alex), Paul Dwyer, (Mr./Lee Randolph), Piper Arpan (Mrs./Exhibition Guest), and Jeremy Rill (Louis/Billy Webster). The ensemble features Michael Bouchard, Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck, Drew Horwitz, Shannan Steele, Susannah McLeod, and Tanner Sands.

Although the musical started off rather slowly, I was completely hooked by the second act. The glorious voices and skillful acting of the entire cast all contributed to a most enjoyable evening. The music (directed by David John Madore) was first rate; Clare Henkel’s costumes were beautiful; Shannon McKinney’s lighting design was magical and contributed much to the evening; Diana Ben-Kiki’s wigs/makeup design were spot on; Brian Mallgrave’s scenic design transported us to another world, and the sound design by David Thomas enhanced the production. Although I didn’t leave the theater humming any of the tunes, the evening was altogether delightful. Music for “Sunday in the Park with George” is by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapin. The musical was inspired by “Sunday on the Island of  La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. The musical was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won a Pulitzer Prize.

Harriet Hunter-Ford can be reached at hhunterford@gmail.com.

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