Sunday in the Park with George
Review by Emilee Hatfield
The artistic vision is something many wish they could grasp. Believing that if they could have an inkling into an artists mind then the creative process will be known to them. It is so they too can see what the artist was thinking while in the midst of his or her work. The people of Arvada now have a chance to get that wishful glimpse into one of the most well known painting in the world, with its production of Sunday in the Park with George.
The staging welcomes you to where any artist would begin. A blank canvas awaiting the possibilities of the color and design that it will soon present. Once the show begins we find George, an artist, is sketching his lover, Dot on a beautiful Sunday morning for his new painting. Now it can go without being said that the audience can guess what painting it is George will is working on. But it isn't the telling of why it comes to be that Director Rod A. Lansberry and his crew wonderfully convey to their patrons. It is how ingeniously they show the conventions, relationships, dedication, and most importantly the inspiration that come together within George's mind in order to paint , A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
As the story continues, we witness George’s relationship between him and Dot beginning to crumple as the painting comes more and more together. Lansberry does well when handling the struggles of what many artists appear to find themselves choosing between; relationships or art, socialization or work, and the desperate need to be inspirational in a world that is dying for something different.
The choices also aren’t left alone to just George. Dot as well must make choices. Only to reveal just how much we can actually learn from someone, and what can happen should we do our best to concentrate and take on what they have to offer.
Cole Burden, is fantastic as George, his love for the musical clearly shines through creating a rather charming performance that carries both the serious artistry and humanity of this great character. Along side him is the great Emily Van Fleet, who enchants you to the point of tears as Dot. Together, these two captivate the audience leaving no time for anyone to get distracted whenever they are present on stage.
One might say that originality is dead in this day and age, yet it is within this musical, we are given the best advise one could hear when grappling the ever horrendous idea of what sets ones work apart from others.
"Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new."
This musical within itself does just that. The Arvada Center has created a beautiful, new and masterfully inspiring interpretation of Sunday in the Park with George. So much so that it appears they have captured the true artistry of what it means to pick up a brush and create.
Sunday in the Park with George is currently running at the Arvada Center through May 6th. For tickets please visit https://arvadacenter.org/sunday-in-the-park-with-george or call the box office at 720-898-7200