Sunday in the Park with George is pretty much your go Sondheim after everything else so I went in blind for Jake Gyllenhaal and came out a changed person.
When Jake Gyllenhaal was cast as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, I had some questions. First, could he even sing? And second, how was this burly beautiful man supposed to play sweet and sensitive Seymour?
Well, he did it and he did it with grace. Now that beard and burly man attached to it have returned to the musical theater I love so much. And this time, they’re taking on Sondheim. Now, to be fair, I had absolutely no interest in this show. Mandy Patinkin was my George and that was fine enough for me.
But then this video came out and suddenly I needed to see Jake Gyllenhaal as if it was the cure for whatever disease I had.
White. A Blank Page or Canvas.
Don’t know what Sunday in the Park with George is about? No worries. Let me explain. George Seurat, the pointillism painter, created A Sunday on La Grande Jatte And you’ve most definitely seen this painting before. Where?
Well in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off of course!
But more than that, the musical does an amazing job of telling the story of an artist and their struggle to separate themselves from the world they see in their work as opposed to what is truly around them.
In the musical George falls in love with Dot, his mistress. It is made clear through little jokes that she is pregnant with his child, a daughter. (The real George had a son, but we’ll get to that later.) Dot ends up leaving George because of his dedication to his art and not to her, and she ends up moving to America with the baker.
It is heartbreaking and beautiful. By the end of Act 1 I was crying in my seat as the beautiful painting that George is known for came to life right before my eyes.
Finishing the Hat
So Act 2 takes you on a different kind of journey. You learn of George’s sudden death and how he never sold a single piece of artwork in his life. The show then takes us to George’s great grandson George and his artwork.
It focuses on how this family sees lights and life and colors and honestly, it is touching. The show just emphasizes us the importance of art. After all, the two things we leave behind when we leave this world should be children and art, as the show itself puts it.
So obviously I had to stagedoor after sobbing my eyes out throughout all of the show. Because really, I was a mess. So I went outside and waited and Jake came out relatively quick. And my brain short-circuited and I told him I liked the show and asked for a picture.
What I didn’t get to tell him was how much the show and his performance moved me or how much I love all his work. To this day I still talk about Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain and I just love Jake and his work.
But when he finished signing autographs he did walk back up past me to get back into the theater and we locked eyes and he gave me a nod so I think we’re dating.
Basically, art makes us whole and without it the world would be a darker place. I love Sunday in the Park with George and I’m so glad I got to see it.