Sunday in the Park with George

Sunday in the Park with George is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It was inspired by the French pointillist painter Georges Seurat's painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The plot revolves around George, a fictionalized version of Seurat, who immerses himself deeply in painting his masterpiece, and his great-grandson (also named George), a conflicted and cynical contemporary artist. The Broadway production opened in 1984.

Sunday in the Park with George
Original Broadway Playbill Cover
MusicStephen Sondheim
LyricsStephen Sondheim
BookJames Lapine
BasisA Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
by Georges Seurat
Productions1984 Broadway
1990 West End
1994 Broadway concert
2006 West End revival
2008 Broadway revival
2017 Broadway revival
2017 Off-West End
Awards1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
1985 Drama Desk Outstanding Musical
1985 Drama Desk Outstanding Book
1985 Drama Desk Outstanding Lyrics
1991 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical
2007 Olivier Outstanding Musical

The musical won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for design (and a nomination for Best Musical), numerous Drama Desk Awards, the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Musical and the 2007 Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production. It has enjoyed several major revivals, including the 2005-06 UK production first presented at the Menier Chocolate Factory and its subsequent 2008 Broadway transfer.


Act I

In 1884, Georges Seurat, known as George in the musical, is sketching studies for his painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. He announces to the audience: "White, a blank page or canvas. The challenge: bring order to the whole, through design, composition, tension, balance, light and harmony." He conjures up the painting's setting, a small suburban park on an island, and retains some control of his surroundings as he draws them. His longtime mistress, Dot, models for him, despite her frustration at having to get up early on a Sunday ("Sunday in the Park with George"). More park regulars begin to arrive: a quarrelsome Old Lady and her Nurse discuss how Paris is changing to accommodate a tower for the International Exposition, but the Nurse is more interested in a German coachman, Franz. The quiet of the park is interrupted by a group of rude bathers. George freezes them with a gesture, making them the subjects of his first painting, Bathers at Asnières. The setting abruptly changes to a gallery where the painting is on display. Jules (a more successful artist friend of George's) and his wife Yvonne think George's work has "No Life". Back on the island, Jules and Yvonne have a short discussion with George and depart. They take their coachman Franz with them, interrupting his rendezvous with the Nurse. Dot, who has grown tired of standing still in the early morning sunlight, leaves the park mollified after George promises to take her to the Follies. George approaches the Old Lady, revealed to be his mother, and asks to draw her, but she bluntly refuses.

In his studio George works on his painting obsessively while Dot prepares for their date and fantasizes about being a Follies girl ("Color and Light"). When George briefly stops painting to clean his brushes, he and Dot reflect on how fascinated they are by each other. Dot is ready to leave, but George chooses to continue painting instead, greatly upsetting her.

In the park on a Sunday some time later, George sketches a disgruntled Boatman to the disapproval of an observing Jules. Dot enters on the arm of Louis, a baker. Two chatting shopgirls, both named Celeste, notice Dot with a new man ("Gossip"). When Jules and Yvonne's daughter Louise attempts to pet the Boatman's dog, he shouts at her, then lashes out at George and storms off. George and Dot have a strained conversation as she works on the grammar book she is using to teach herself how to read and write. As Jules and Yvonne mock the unconventional nature of George's art, they discuss an initiative to have his work included in the next group show, which they both protest. George sketches two dogs while whimsically trying to imagine the world from their perspective, describing their relief to be free of their routines on Sunday ("The Day Off"). As the day goes on, George quietly sketches denizens of the park: The two Celestes try to attract the attention of a pair of Soldiers, fighting over which will get the more handsome of the two; the Nurse hides from the Old Lady and attempts to attract Franz's attention; Franz and his wife Frieda argue with Louise and each other; a pair of wealthy American tourists pass by, hating everything about Paris but the pastries, and plan to return home with a baker in tow; Jules returns to further lecture George on his shortcomings as an artist, receiving in response an invitation to see his new painting; the Boatman reappears to rebuke artists' condescending attitude. Dot sees George, but he slips away before she can speak to him, and in retaliation she describes her satisfying new life with Louis. She clearly misses and loves George, but Louis loves, respects and needs her in a way George cannot, and she has made her choice ("Everybody Loves Louis").

As the park empties for the evening, George returns. He misses Dot and laments that his art has alienated him from those important to him, but resigns himself to the likelihood that creative fulfillment may always take precedence for him over personal happiness ("Finishing the Hat").

Time has passed, and a heavily pregnant Dot visits George's studio. She asks for a painting George made of her, but he refuses. Jules and Yvonne come to the studio to see George's nearly finished painting. While Jules goes with George to see the painting, Yvonne and Dot hold a wary conversation. They realize they have both felt neglected by an artist, their mutual dislike fades, and they discuss the difficulties of trying to maintain a romantic relationship with an artist. Meanwhile, Jules is puzzled by George's new technique and concerned that his obsession with his work is alienating him from his fellow artists and collectors alike. He refuses to support the work. Jules and Yvonne leave, and George, having forgotten Dot was there, goes back to work. Dot reveals the real reason for her visit: despite the obvious fact that George fathered her unborn child, she and Louis are getting married and leaving for America. George angrily retreats behind his canvas, and she begs him to react, in some way, to her news. They argue bitterly about their failed relationship, and Dot concludes sadly that while George may be capable of self-fulfillment, she is not, and they must part ("We Do Not Belong Together").

In the park the Old Lady finally agrees to sit for George, losing herself in fond memories of his childhood that George repeatedly disputes. She bemoans Paris's changing skyline, and he encourages her to see the beauty in the world as it is, rather than how it has been ("Beautiful"). The American Tourists arrive with Louis and Dot, who holds her newborn daughter, Marie. George refuses to acknowledge her or his child, able to offer only a feeble apology as Dot departs sadly.

The park grows noisy: the Celestes and the Soldier argue over their respective breakups while Jules and Frieda sneak away to have a tryst. Louise informs Yvonne of her father's infidelity and a fight breaks out among Jules, Yvonne, Franz, and Frieda. The Celestes and the Soldier squabble noisily, and soon all the park-goers are fighting until the Old Lady shouts, "Remember, George!", and he stops them all with a gesture. George takes control of the subjects of his painting, who sing in harmony as he transforms them into the final tableau of his finished painting ("Sunday").

Act II

As the curtain opens the characters – still in the tableau – complain about being stuck in the painting ("It's Hot Up Here"). The characters deliver short eulogies for George, who died suddenly at 31.

The action fast-forwards a century to 1984. George and Dot's great-grandson, also an artist named George, is at a museum unveiling his latest work, a reflection on Seurat's painting in the form of a light machine called "Chromolume #7". George presents the work, grounding its connection to the painting by inviting his 98-year-old grandmother, Marie, to help him present the work. Marie shares her family history, describing how her mother, Dot, informed her on her deathbed that she was Seurat's daughter. George is skeptical of that bit of family lore, but Marie insists that the notes in Dot's grammar book, which mention George, are proof. After a brief technical failure, the Chromolume is unveiled.

At the reception, various patrons and curators congratulate George on his work while George flits among them, commenting on the difficulties of producing modern art ("Putting It Together"). Like his great-grandfather, he conjures his surroundings, allowing himself to hold multiple conversations at once. The only voice he finds he cannot ignore is that of an art critic who advises him that he is repeating himself and wasting his gifts. After the museum's patrons have left for dinner, Marie speaks to her mother's image in the painting, worrying about George. When he arrives to take her home, she tells him about her mother, attempting to pass on a message about the legacy we leave behind ("Children and Art"). She dozes off and George, alone with the painting, realizes he is lacking connection.

Weeks later, Marie has died and George has been invited by the French government to do a presentation of the Chromolume on the island the painting depicts. There George reveals to his friend Dennis that he has turned down his next commission. Feeling adrift and unsure, George reads from a book he inherited from his grandmother – the same one Dot used to learn to read – and ponders the similarities between himself and his great-grandfather ("Lesson #8"). A vision of Dot appears and greets George, whom she addresses as if he were the George she knew. He confides his doubts to her and she tells him to stop worrying about whether his choices are right and simply make them ("Move On"). George finds some words written in the back of the book – the words George often muttered while he worked. As George reads them aloud the characters from the painting fill the stage and recreate their tableau ("Sunday"). As they leave and the stage resembles a blank canvas, George reads: "White: a blank page or canvas. His favorite – so many possibilities."


Following the failure and scathing critical reception of Merrily We Roll Along in 1981 (it closed after 16 performances), Sondheim announced his intention to quit musical theatre. Lapine persuaded him to return to the theatrical world after the two were inspired by A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. They spent several days at the Art Institute of Chicago studying the painting.[1] Lapine noted that one major figure was missing from the canvas: the artist himself. This observation provided the springboard for Sunday and the production evolved into a meditation on art, emotional connection and community.[2]

The musical fictionalizes Seurat's life. In fact neither of his children survived beyond infancy and he had no grandchildren. Seurat's common-law wife was Madeleine Knobloch, who gave birth to his two sons, one after his death. Unlike Dot, Knobloch was living with Seurat when he died, and did not emigrate to America. She died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 35.[3][4]


Original Off-Broadway production

The show opened Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, in July 1983 and ran for 25 performances. Only the first act was performed and even that was still in development. The first act was fleshed out and work began on the second during that time and the complete two-act show was premièred during the last three performances.[5] After seeing the show at Playwrights, composer Leonard Bernstein wrote to his friend Sondheim, calling the show "brilliant, deeply conceived, canny, magisterial and by far the most personal statement I've heard from you thus far. Bravo."[6] Kelsey Grammer (Young Man on the Bank and Soldier), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Celeste #2) and Christine Baranski (Clarisse, who was later renamed Yvonne) were in the off-Broadway production but did not continue with the show to Broadway.[7]

Original Broadway production

The musical transferred to the Booth Theatre on Broadway on May 2, 1984. The second act was finalized and the show was "frozen" only a few days before the opening.

Lapine directed and Patinkin and Peters starred, with scenic design by Tony Straiges, costume design by Patricia Zipprodt and Ann Hould-Ward, lighting by Richard Nelson, and special effects by Bran Ferren. In his New York Times review of Sunday in the Park with George Frank Rich wrote, "What Mr. Lapine, his designers and the special-effects wizard Bran Ferren have arranged is simply gorgeous."[8] It was the first Broadway show to utilize projection mapping (onto the spherical surface topping the Chromolume #7 sculpture), and high powered lasers that broke the 4th wall, traveling throughout the audience.

Sunday opened on Broadway to mixed critical responses. The New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich wrote: "I do know... that Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Lapine have created an audacious, haunting and, in its own intensely personal way, touching work. Even when it fails – as it does on occasion – Sunday in the Park is setting the stage for even more sustained theatrical innovations yet to come."[9] The musical enjoyed a healthy box office, though the show would ultimately lose money; it closed on October 13, 1985, after 604 performances and 35 previews.

Although it was considered a brilliant artistic achievement for Sondheim and nominated for ten Tony Awards, the show won only two, both for design. (The major winner of the night was Jerry Herman's La Cage aux Folles. In his acceptance speech Herman noted that the "simple, hummable tune" was still alive on Broadway, a remark some perceived as criticism of Sondheim's pointillistic score. Herman has since denied that that was his intention.[10]) Sunday won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Musical and Sondheim and Lapine were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.[11] Sunday is one of only nine musicals to win a Pulitzer.

On May 15, 1994, the original cast of Sunday in the Park with George returned to Broadway for a tenth anniversary concert, which was also a benefit for "Friends in Deed".

Original London production

The first London production opened at the Royal National Theatre on March 15, 1990, and ran for 117 performances, with Philip Quast as George and Maria Friedman as Dot. The production was nominated for six Laurence Olivier Awards, beating Into the Woods, another collaboration between Lapine and Sondheim, to win Best New Musical (1991). Quast won the award for Best Actor in a Musical.[12]

2005 London revival

The show's first revival was presented at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, opening on November 14, 2005, and closing on March 17, 2006. The score was radically reorchestrated by Jason Carr and starred Daniel Evans and Anna-Jane Casey, with direction by Sam Buntrock. The production transferred to the Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End, opening on May 23, 2006, and closing on September 2, 2006. Jenna Russell replaced the unavailable Casey. The revival received six Olivier Award nominations overall, and won five in total including Outstanding Musical Production, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical.

2008 Broadway revival

The 2005 London production transferred to Broadway in 2008, where it was produced by Roundabout Theatre Company and Studio 54. As a limited engagement, previews started on January 25, 2008, with an opening on February 21, 2008, running through June 29 (making this the 3rd extension).[13]

Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell (who starred in the 2005-6 London production) reprised their roles with Sam Buntrock directing. The cast included Michael Cumpsty (Jules/Bob), Jessica Molaskey (Yvonne/Naomi), Ed Dixon (Mr./Charles Redmond), Mary Beth Peil (Old Lady/Blair), Alexander Gemignani (Boatman/Dennis), and David Turner (Franz/Lee Randolph).[14]

Reviewers praised the script and score as well as the innovative design and the entire cast. Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times, "The great gift of this production, first staged in London two years ago, is its quiet insistence that looking is the art by which all people shape their lives. ...a familiar show shimmers with a new humanity and clarity that make theatergoers see it with virgin eyes. And while Sunday remains a lopsided piece — pairing a near-perfect, self-contained first act with a lumpier, less assured second half — this production goes further than any I’ve seen in justifying the second act’s existence."[15] As described in The New York Times, "In his [Buntrock's] intimate production, live actors talk to projections, scenery darkens as day turns into night, and animation seamlessly blends into the background...In this new version, thanks to 3-D animation, the painting, currently the crown jewel of the Art Institute of Chicago, slowly comes together onstage. A sketch emerges, then color is added, and the rest gradually comes into focus, piece by piece."[16]

The Broadway production received five Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, three Drama League Award nominations and seven Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Musical and Outstanding Director of a Musical. Russell and Evans also received Tony Award nominations for their performances. At the Tony Awards, Russell and Evans performed the song "Move On."

2017 Broadway revival

A limited-run revival was presented on Broadway at the Hudson Theatre, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as George and Annaleigh Ashford as Dot/Marie. Previews began on February 11, 2017, and the production opened on February 23 to glowing reviews.[17] The production was based on the New York City Center October 2016 concert version, which also starred Gyllenhaal and Ashford. It featured Brooks Ashmanskas (Mr./Charles), Phillip Boykin (Boatman/Lee), Claybourne Elder (Soldier/Alex), Liz McCartney (Mrs./Harriet), Ruthie Ann Miles (Frieda/Betty), David Turner (Franz/Dennis), Jordan Gelber (Louis/Billy), Erin Davie (Yvonne/Naomi), Penny Fuller (Old Lady/Blair), and Robert Sean Leonard (Jules/Bob).[18] The production team included Sarna Lapine (director), Ann Yee (musical staging), Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Clint Ramos (costume design), Ken Billington (lighting design) and Kai Harada (sound design). The producers withdrew the production from Tony Award consideration for the 2016-17 season.[19] David Turner is the only actor to have appeared on Broadway in two different productions of Sunday.[20]

The production will transfer to the West End at the Savoy Theatre in June 2020, also starring Gyllenhaal and Ashford and directed by Sarna Lapine.[21]

Other productions

As part of the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration, the musical was presented in the Eisenhower Theatre from May 31, 2002, to June 28, 2002. Directed by Eric D. Schaeffer, the cast featured Raúl Esparza and Melissa Errico.

This play is of special significance for Chicago in that Seurat's masterpiece, the backdrop of the play, hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented the musical in 2002, directed by Gary Griffin in the more intimate, 200 seat, Upstairs Theater. In September 2012, Griffin returned to direct the play in the larger downstairs Courtyard Theater. Notable in this production is the fact that in the final scene of the play, all of the cast appear in white costumes; the music for the production is supplied by a live orchestra seated above and to the rear of the actors where they can be seen by the audience. Griffin also chose to have as background for the performance a full-stage reproduction of Seurat's work which changed in both content and color to match certain moments in the play. The lead roles were played by Jason Danieley as George, Carmen Cusack as Dot, and Linda Stephens as the Old Lady.[22]

The Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois, presented a semi-staged production for three shows from September 3 to 4, 2004, with Michael Cerveris, Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone and direction by Lonny Price.[23] New Line Theatre in St. Louis produced the show in 2004.[24]

The team responsible for the London revival mounted a production in April 2009 at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, featuring Hugh Panaro, Billie Wildrick, Patti Cohenour, Anne Allgood, Allen Fitzpatrick and Carol Swarbrick.[25]

The Dutch production company M-Lab presented a small-scale production of the musical from June 9 through July 3, 2010.

From April 15 through 25, 2013, the musical was performed in the English language at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, directed by Lee Blakeley featuring the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France led by David Charles Abell. George was played by Julian Ovenden. For this occasion, Michael Starobin reworked his musical arrangements, which were originally tailored to an 11-piece chamber orchestra, to match a full orchestra.[26] The production was taped for radio and TV and has been frequently broadcast in the French Mezzo HD channel which usually only rebroadcasts in-house productions of classical music, opera and jazz that were first presented live on its sister channel Mezzo Live HD.

In July 2013, Victorian Opera staged an acclaimed production in Melbourne, Australia, starring Alexander Lewis as Georges and Christina O'Neill as Dot.[27] It was directed by Stuart Maunder and conducted by Phoebe Briggs. 11 members from the Orchestra Victoria performed the score with Michael Starobin's original orchestrations. Audience members were required to wear 3-D glasses to view the Chromolume in Act 2.

The show was performed in a four-performance concert version as part of New York City Center's 2016 Gala on October 24–26, 2016. Jake Gyllenhaal starred as George opposite Annaleigh Ashford as Dot/Marie.[28][29]

Musical numbers


Character Voice Description
Act I
Georges Seurat Tenor

A♭2 – A♭4

an artist.
Dot Mezzo-Soprano

E3 – D5

Georges' mistress and model
Jules Baritone

G2 – F4

another artist
Yvonne Mezzo-Soprano

E3 – E♭5

Jules' wife
Old Lady Mezzo-Soprano


Georges' mother
Nurse Mezzo-Soprano

G3 – A5

the nurse of the Old Lady
Celeste #1 Soprano

B3 – G5

a shop girl
Celeste #2 Soprano

A3 – G5

another shop girl
Soldier Baritone

A2 – F4

a soldier
Boatman Bass-Baritone

E♭2 – E♭4

a "surly blue-collared laborer" who criticizes George's work
Franz Baritone

B2 – G4

coachman to Jules and Yvonne
Frieda Soprano

G3 – F5

cook for Jules and Yvonne and wife to Franz
Louise Soprano

G3 – E♭5

the little daughter of Jules and Yvonne
Mr. Baritone

B2 – G4

an American couple
Mrs. Mezzo-Soprano

G3 – F5

Louis Baritone

B2 – A4

a baker and Dot's fiancé
Act II
George Tenor

A♭2 – A♭4

an artist
Dot Mezzo-Soprano

E3 – D5

Georges' mistress and model, appearing as a vision
Marie George's 98-year-old grandmother
Bob Greenberg (Jules) Baritone

G2 – F4

the museum director
Dennis (Franz) Baritone

B2 – G4

a technician
Naomi Eisen (Yvonne) Mezzo-Soprano

E3 – E♭5

a composer
Elaine (Celeste #2) Soprano

A3 – G5

George's former wife and carer for Marie
Harriett Pawling (Nurse) Mezzo-Soprano

G3 – A5

a board member of the museum
Billy Webster (Louis) Baritone

B2 – A4

her "friend"
Charles Redmond (Boatman) Bass-Baritone

E♭2 – E♭4

a visiting curator from Texas
Alex (Soldier) Baritone

A2 – F4

an artist who is jealous of George
Betty (Frieda) Soprano

G3 – F5

another artist who loves George's work
Lee Randolph (Mr.) Baritone

B2 – G4

the museum's publicist
Blair Daniels (Old Lady) Mezzo-Soprano


an art critic

The museum guests of act II are played by the same actors who appear as the parkgoers in act I. Celeste #1 is seen as a waitress and the two adult ensemble members appear as a photographer and another museumgoer. Louise only appears back on the island in the finale. Traditionally Dot and Marie and Georges Seurat and George are played by the same actors.

Original casts of major productions

Characters Broadway
West End
First West End Revival
First Broadway Revival
New York City Center Concert
Second Broadway Revival
Second West End Revival
Georges Seurat/George Mandy Patinkin Philip Quast Daniel Evans Jake Gyllenhaal
Dot/Marie Bernadette Peters Maria Friedman Jenna Russell Annaleigh Ashford
Old Lady/Blair Daniels Barbara Bryne Sheila Ballantine Gay Soper Mary Beth Peil Phylicia Rashad Penny Fuller N/A
Nurse/Harriet Pawling Judith Moore Nuala Willis Joanne Redman Anne L. Nathan Lisa Howard Jennifer Sanchez N/A
Jules/Bob Greenberg Charles Kimbrough Gary Raymond Simon Green Michael Cumpsty Zachary Levi Robert Sean Leonard N/A
Yvonne/Naomi Eisen Dana Ivey Nyree Dawn Porter Liza Sadovy Jessica Molaskey Carmen Cusack Erin Davie N/A
Soldier/Alex Robert Westenberg Nicolas Colicos Christopher Colley Santino Fontana Claybourne Elder N/A
Celeste #1 Melanie Vaughan
Act II: A Waitress
Megan Kelly
Act II: Chromolume Performer
Sarah French Ellis
Act II: Elaine
Brynn O'Malley
Act II: Elaine
Solea Pfeiffer
Act II: A Waitress
Ashley Park
Act II: A Waitress
Celeste #2 Mary D'Arcy
Act II: Elaine
Clare Burt
Act II: Betty
Kaisa Hammarlund
Act II: Silent Artist
Jessica Grové
Act II: Silent Artist
Lauren Worsham
Act II: Elaine
Jenni Barber
Act II: Elaine
Franz Brent Spiner
Act II: Dennis
Michael O'Connor
Act II: Dennis
Steven Kynman
Act II: Lee Randolph
David Turner
Act II: Lee Randolph
Gabriel Ebert
Act II: Dennis
David Turner
Act II: Dennis
Mr. Frank Kopyc

Act II: Lee Randolph

Matt Zimmerman

Act II: Charles Redmond

Mark McKerracher

Act II: Charles Redmond

Ed Dixon

Act II: Charles Redmond

Brooks Ashmanskas

Act II: Charles Redmond

Mrs. Judith Moore Vivienne Martin

Act II: Billy Webster

Joanne Redman Anne L. Nathan Liz McCartney N/A
Freida Nancy Opel

Act II: Betty

Di Botcher

Act II: Elaine

Anna Lowe

Act II: Betty

Stacie Morgain Lewis

Act II: Betty

Ruthie Ann Miles

Act II: Betty

Boatman William Parry

Act II: Charles Redmond

Michael Atwell

Act II: Lee Randolph

Alasdair Harvey

Act II: Dennis

Alexander Gemignani

Act II: Dennis

Phillip Boykin

Act II: Lee Randoplh

Louise Danielle Ferland Ann Gosling Lauren Calpin / Georgina Hendry / Natalie Paris Kelsey Fowler/Alison Horowitz Gabriella Pizzolo Mattea Conforti N/A
Louis Cris Groenendaal

Act II: Billy Webster

Aneriin Huws

Act II: Chromolume performer

Ian McLarnon

Act II: Billy Webster

Drew McVety Jordan Gelber

Act II: Billy Webster

1984 Broadway ensemble:
  • Man with Bicycle / Museum Assistant - John Jellison
  • Woman with Baby Carriage / Photographer - Sue Anne Gershenson
  • Little Girl - Michele Rigan
1990 West End production
  • Man Playing the Horn / Chromolume Performer - Vivienne Martin
  • Woman Looking for a Glove / Chromolume Performer - Ellen van Schuylenburch
  • Dancing Girl - Antonia Boyd/Emily Sault
  • A Waitress - Buffy Davis
  • A Photographer - Simon Fielder
  • Party Guests - Stephen Hanley, Erika Vincent
  • Small Boy - Kei Charles/Samuel Woodward Small
  • Boy Bathers - Christopher Line, Marc Bellamy, Marco Williamson, James Nyman

Television and video

Sunday in the Park with George was taped on October 21–25, 1985, at the Booth Theatre with most of the original Broadway cast. It was broadcast on American television on February 18, 1986, on Showtime and on June 16, 1986, on PBS's American Playhouse. (Bernadette Peters, who was performing in Song and Dance at the time of the taping, was given time off from that play to tape this production.[30]) Warner Home Video released the recording on VHS on April 1, 1992; Image Entertainment released the DVD and laserdisc on March 23, 1999. The DVD includes full-length commentary by Sondheim, Lapine, Patinkin, and Peters.

An audio registration of the 2013 Paris production at the Théâtre du Châtelet was broadcast on Radio France, a video registration on TV channel Mezzo TV.

A number of Desperate Housewives episodes take their names from songs or lyrics from the musical. These are episodes 1.11 - "Move On," 1.21 - "Sunday in the Park with George," 2.7 - "Color and Light," 3.20 - "Gossip", 4.5 - "Art Isn't Easy," 4.11 - "A Vision's Just a Vision," 5.10 - "Sunday," 5.14 - "Chromolume No. 7," 8.5 - "The Art of Making Art," 8.9 - "Putting it Together," and 8.23 - "Finishing the Hat".

Cast recordings

The 1984 original Broadway cast recording was released by RCA in 1984. The remastered recording was released on March 20, 2007 (ASIN: B0009A40KW). The recording, produced by Thomas Z. Shepard, won the 1984 Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Show Album.[31]

The 2006 London cast recording (with the cast of the 2005 revival) was released by PS Classics (2 disc set) on May 30, 2006 (ASIN: B000EZ9048). This is the most complete recording of the score to date. It contains a bonus track – the original, full version of "The One on the Left" (of which only a fraction survives in the final show) performed by Colley, Ellis and Hammarlund.

A cast recording was released for the Broadway revival in fall 2017 by Warner Music Group.[32]

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1984 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical James Lapine Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Mandy Patinkin Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Bernadette Peters Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Charles Kimbrough Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical James Lapine Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Michael Starobin Won
Outstanding Lyrics Stephen Sondheim Won
Outstanding Music Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Patricia Zipprodt and Ann Hould-Ward Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Richard Nelson Won
Outstanding Set Design Tony Straiges Won
Outstanding Special Effects Bran Ferren Won
Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Original Score Stephen Sondheim Nominated
Best Book of a Musical James Lapine Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Mandy Patinkin Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Bernadette Peters Nominated
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Dana Ivey Nominated
Best Costume Design Patricia Zipprodt and Ann Hould-Ward Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical James Lapine Nominated
Best Scenic Design Tony Straiges Won
Best Lighting Design Richard Nelson Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award Best Musical Won
1985 Pulitzer Prize Pulitzer Prize for Drama Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine Won

Original London production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1991 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Philip Quast Won
Best Director of a Musical Steven Pimlott Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Maria Friedman Nominated
Best Costume Design Tom Cairns Nominated
Best Set Design Nominated

2005 London revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2005 Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best Designer Timothy Bird and David Farley Won
2007 Laurence Olivier Award Outstanding Musical Production Won
Best Actor in a Musical Daniel Evans Won
Best Actress in a Musical Jenna Russell Won
Best Set Design Timothy Bird and David Farley Won
Best Lighting Design Natasha Chivers and Mike Robertson Won
Best Director Sam Buntrock Nominated

2008 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2008 Drama League Award Distinguished Revival of a Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Daniel Evans Nominated
Jenna Russell Nominated
Drama Desk Award[33] Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Daniel Evans Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Jenna Russell Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Sam Buntrock Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Jason Carr Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Ken Billington Nominated
Outstanding Projection Design Timothy Bird and The Knifedge Creative Network Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Daniel Evans Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Timothy Bird and David Farley Won
Outstanding Costume Design David Farley Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Ken Billington Won
Tony Award[34] Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Daniel Evans Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Jenna Russell Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Sam Buntrock Nominated
Best Orchestrations Jason Carr Nominated
Best Scenic Design Timothy Bird and David Farley Nominated
Best Costume Design David Farley Nominated
Best Lighting Design Ken Billington Nominated
Best Sound Design Sebastian Frost Nominated


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Further reading

  • Bauch, Marc. The American Musical. Marburg, Germany: Tectum Verlag, 2003. ISBN 3-8288-8458-X described here
  • Bauch, Marc. Themes and Topics of the American Musical after World War II. Marburg, Germany: Tectum Verlag, 2001. ISBN 3-8288-1141-8 described here
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