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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Windfall Theatre’s ‘Sunday in the Park’

Plus: ‘Heart of a Dog’ at Moct

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In an online profile picture, actor Larry Birkett stands with his back to the camera. Beyond him stretches Georges Seurat’s familiar A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.The painting has significance beyond its hypnotic composition: Birkett will be playing the French artist Georges Seurat in a Windfall Theatre production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George.

The first act of the musical concerns itself with the creation of Seurat’s famous work. Members of the ensemble will portray the people in the painting that Seurat so meticulously rendered. The online photo came from a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago that Birkett took to “re-connect” with the work that inspired the musical. It’s nice to see Birkett, a talented actor in and out of musical theater, holding down the central role in a show about the nature of art and the people who sacrifice for it. Birkett is joined by a number of notable musical talents, including Bryce Lord, Karl Miller and Kristin Pagenkopf. The production will be directed by Carol Zippel, who helmed Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle for Windfall.

Windfall Theatre’s production of Sunday in the Park With George runs May 7-22 at Village Church Arts (130 E. Juneau Ave.).

The arts collective Bad Soviet Habits is tapping into the unique creative energies of Kurt Hartwig and Andy North in order to bring Heart of a Dog to Moct (240 E. Pittsburgh Ave.) this week. The play is a loose, visceral adaptation of the 1925 Mikhail Bulgakov novel of the same name. The novel tells the story of a doctor who transplants human organs into a stray dog. This political satire finds Hartwig and North playing multiple roles in a play featuring minimal set, props and costuming. Judging from videos posted online, Hartwig and North share a very interesting dynamic. They plan to take the show to fringe festivals in Minnesota and the Czech Republic in the near future.

Bad Soviet Habits’ production of Heart of a Dog runs May 6-21 at Moct. There is no charge for admission.