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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Skylight Connects With 'Sunday in the Park'

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The life of an artist isn't easy. The fact that this is a cliché makes matters very difficult for any work of art attempting to explore the lives of artists. But Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George avoids the cliché aspects by focusing on the human connection that drives so many artists.

The human connection at the center of Sondheim's musical is a romance between painter Georges Seurat and his girlfriend Dot. Skylight Music Theatre has the good fortune of having Sean Allan Krill and Alison Mary Forbes in these roles. Krill and Forbes make this an enjoyable production, even for those who don't particularly like Sondheim's work.

Krill plays Seurat with just the right mixture of disconnected obsession and human tenderness to keep the character at a distance without making him seem cold and uncaring. The artist's obsession is seen as passion, giving the character an inner resonance without overpowering his reclusive core. As Dot, Forbes creates a deep, pleasant warmth that suits the role quite well. We see the complexity of Dot's love play out in subtle shades. Her performance of the title song is brilliantly expressive. Forbes has a way of delivering anger and frustration with comic intensity and without overwhelming volume, allowing her to modulate quickly enough to keep pace with the song while still maintaining compelling emotion. It's a real pleasure to see Forbes in a role this prominent.

Skylight Music Theatre's production of Sunday in the Park With George runs through June 10 at the Cabot Theatre. For ticket reservations, call 414-291-7800. 
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