Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sunday In The Park With George

**** (out of 5 stars)
Arden Theatre Co.
Philadelphia, PA

I think we can all agree that there's nothing like a well-executed Sondheim score. Having felt a little gypped after being offered a six-person orchestra in the current Broadway revival of A Little Night Music, and a measly five-person orchestra in the recent Broadway revival of Sunday In The Park..., the promise of a fifteen-person strong orchestra was sufficient enough to lure me down to Arden Theatre company's Sunday... in Philly. Good call, because there's something kinda gorgeous going on down there. This well-executed, lovely-sounding, beautiful-to-look-at regional production in many ways, trumps the Studio 54 revival. The sound of the show is near perfect with its meaty orchestra and cast of Broadway caliber singers. The projections, created especially for this production, are far more subtle and not the least bit heavy-handed like in the Broadway revival (though in the Act 2 "Chromolume #7" sequence, Arden's stage was a thrilling explosion of colorful animation). Stand-out performances included Jeffrey Coon's thoughtful, pensive George, and Maureen Torsney Weir's elegant and emotional delivery of "Beautiful" as the Old Lady. And when orchestra and cast join together in Act 1 and 2 "Sunday" finales? Forget about it. Thumbs way up.

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