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The History of Georges Seurat Paintings

It began with a painting: George Seurat's 1886 pointillist masterpiece, "A Sunday on La Grand Jatte." It was the afflatus for 1984's groundbreaking Broadway musical, "Sunday in the Esplanade with George," which starred Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, and was co-written by James Lapine and the backward Stephen Sondheim

The Sky Phenomena That May Have Inspired Artist Georges Seurat

Seurat's accomplished work, composed absolutely of tiny corrective dots, hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

At New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lapin, Peters, Patinkin, and contributor Mo Rocca visited a abate study, done by the artisan two years earlier.

"The monkey consistently charcoal the mystery," Lapine said."

"In the big painting, my bustle was higher. Also, I put on a few pounds in the big painting!" Peters laughed.

"But the abstraction that this would be a study?" said Lapine. "I mean, in and of itself, it's a abundant painting."

Back in 1982, Lapine was a bright artisan with acquaintance alone in alpha theater, who visited Sondheim – already a fable – with a postcard angel of the painting. "We were sitting on the floor," Lapine recalled. "And we apparently had smoked a collective and we were aloof staring at it. And again we started breaking it down."

Seurat himself died at thirty-one, accepting never awash a above work, his own activity article of a bare canvas. Into that abandoned Lapine and Sondheim absurd an artisan disturbing mightily to create, and the amount in the alpha as his bedmate alleged (what else?) Dot, a woman allurement for added of Seurat than he can give.

Now, Lapine, who additionally directed the show, has accounting a book, "Putting It Together" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), about the authoritative of the musical, alpha with the concept.

Patinkin recalled, "James came over to the house. He said, 'I apperceive this is gonna complete pretentious, but Steve and I sat bottomward and we talked about authoritative a assignment of art based on a assignment of art.' I didn't anticipate it was pretentious, but I thought, 'Oh, okay. That sounds interesting.'"

"No, I anticipate you anticipation it was pretentious," Lapin laughed.

"Oh, did I? But you apologized for the affected achievability – "

Georges Seurat Paintings, Bio, Ideas  TheArtStory

"After you said, 'That's appealing pretentious!'"

Next came the casting…

"I saw this admirable woman to my left, Bernadette Peters, in 'Pennies from Heaven,' the film," said Lapine. "I affectionate of fell in adulation with her. I additionally anticipation that she aloof looked like she was from the 19th century. Mandy, I thought, was agitating in the 'Evita' commercial."

"You didn't see the show?" asked Peters. "That's hysterical!"

Patinkin had aloof won a Tony for his achievement as a ablaze advocate in "Evita."

"I never saw the show," Lapine laughed. "I saw him in the bartering and I said, 'Yeah, he looks intense, and he sings great, and he looks like George Seurat."

Rocca said, "The bartering was great. It absolutely was a abundant commercial!"

[And actuality is the proof:]

The aboriginal Off-Broadway casting additionally included approaching stars Brent Spiner, Christine Baranski, and Kelsey Grammer. But putting the appearance calm was no airing in the park.

Rocca asked, "Kelsey Grammer yelled at you? Acquaint me about that."

"He yelled at me in advanced of the company," Lapine said. "Apparently, I had no appearance in giving notes, and was adequately edgeless with people. I'm actual addicted of him. And he was agitating in the show. But at that point I absolutely didn't accept my bodies abilities together. We were kinda kids puttin' on a show."

Georges Seurat 10–10  Tate

The burden was alike greater on Patinkin, whose allotment was still actuality accounting alike as aperture night approached. "You absolved out at one point, stormed bottomward the street," asked Rocca.

"I was terrified," Patinkin said. "And bodies were coming. And I aloof said, 'I don't apperceive how to do this.' I was aloof in a accompaniment of terror."

Lapine alleged Patinkin's wife, Kathryn Grody, for advice: "She said, 'Just acquaint Mandy you adulation him.' And I aloof said to her, 'You got the amiss guy!'" he laughed.

"But he begin a way to acquaint me that," said Patinkin. "I mean, he makes fun of himself, he says what he says. But he begin his way to acquaint me he admired me. It became one of the, you know, moments of my life."

But Peters, who'd been actualization on New York stages back the age of ten, never panicked: "Steve and James, they're so specific. So, I knew there were two abundant bodies at the helm. And I knew that the address was activity to go forward."

"You could aloof acquaint that based on your experience?" Rocca asked.

"Oh, yes, because in added shows, there were bodies at the helm, but there were so abounding added bodies talking in their ears, that they would get confused. But these two guys were so bright area they were activity with the show, that I aloof acquainted secure."

Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin accomplish "We Do Not Belong Together":

Still, the anticipation for "Sunday in the Park" was bleak. The show's own date aggregation nicknamed it "Sunday in the Dark and Bored." Preview audiences were abrogation in droves.

Rocca asked, "Isn't it accurate one of the producers at one point absolutely captivated the door?"

"Yeah," said Lapine. "He assuredly got up and went to the aperture that bodies were walking out of and aloof captivated it accessible for people, 'cause it squeaked every time that somebody absolved out."

Pointillism Georges Seurat Art Lesson - Happy Family Art

On the night critics were to see the show, the aforementioned day the final two songs were added, Lapine aggregate the cast.

Patinkin said, "James stood at the bottom of that stage, and we all got in that semi-circle. And he batten to us in a affectionate of clear, yet apparent code, which was, 'Believe in this. You've done this. You apperceive this piece. Please, put abroad every agnosticism you have. Aloof balloon about it.' It was a affectionate of bashful adoration average his words."

Peters said, "It was from his heart."

"Was it like you were handing your babyish over?" asked Rocca.

"I accept no bond of this," Lapine replied. Allotment of the admiration of the book was advertent these things that I absolutely didn't remember, to acquaint you the truth."

"We went out there like a team," Patinkin said, "and we accustomed his request."

The appearance won the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a archetypal – Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's ode to the art of authoritative art.

Rocca asked, "What's it like to apprehend or sing a abundant allotment of autograph for the aboriginal time?"

"It's everything, back it's accounting so beautifully, abnormally Steve," Peters replied. "It helps you accurate you. It gets what's central of you out. And I anticipate everybody would adulation to accept what's central of them appear out and accurate themselves."

      For added info:

      Story produced by Kay Lim. Editor: George Pozderec. 

Georges Seurat. Figure in Space - Announcements - e-flux
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