The Menier Chocolate Factory’s award-winning revival of Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George transferred last night (23 May 2006, previews from 13 May) to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre (See News, 10 Feb 2006), where star Daniel Evans was joined by new leading lady Jenna Russell - and both were watched by a heavily star-studded first night audience.

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Amongst those attending the performance at Wyndham’s were David Hare, Nicole Farhi, Patrick Stewart, Lisa Dillon, Mel Smith, Les Dennis, Patrick Marber, Alan Rickman, Brian Cox, Cameron Mackintosh, Simon Russell Beale, Lindsay Posner, Anthony Page, Claudia Shear and Nicholas Le Prevost.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer was on hand at last night’s opening night party at Inn the Park, in the heart of St James’ Park, which was also attended by guests including Matthew Bourne, Jill Halfpenny, Alex Jennings, Malcolm Sinclair, Brad Oscar, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dan Stevens, Rebecca Hall, Alice Eve, Matthew White, Jon Lee, Anthony Drewe, comedian Marcus Brigstocke and EastEnders’ Laurie Brett, as well as members of the Sunday in the Park with George company.

Exploring the creative process of French impressionist George Seurat, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1984 musical begins in 19th-century France, where the impoverished painter battles with his art and his personal life. His engrossment in his work drives his pregnant girlfriend Dot to leave him. The action then shifts to modern America where George’s great-grandson is facing similar problems.

Sam Buntrock’s revival - the first major London production since the National staged the musical’s UK premiere in 1990 (See News, 21 Oct 2005) – first opened on 29 November 2005 (previews from 18 November), at the Menier in Southwark, south London, where it enjoyed an extended, sell-out season until 12 March 2006. The production features ground-breaking computer-generated set design by David Farley and Timothy Bird, who jointly won this year’s Critics’ Circle Award for Best Designer for their efforts (See News, 31 Jan 2006). The production was nominated for five Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards and won Best Off-West End Production (See News, 31 Jan 2006).

Sunday in the Park with George is directed by Sam Buntrock and presented in the West End by Broadway producer Boyett Ostar, David Babani and Danielle Tarento for Chocolate Factory Productions, Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions and Mark Rubinstein.

-by Terri Paddock


** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Sunday in the Park with George - including top-price & a post-show Q&A with the show’s stars! – all for just £27.50! – on Tuesday 6 June 2006. **
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