Shaw Festival, an Ontario Theatre, Launches 48th Season

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2009 Shaw Festival Season Begins with Previews of Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George

an audacious, haunting and, in its own intensely personal way, touching work

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario (PRWEB) April 9, 2009 -- Renowned Ontario Theatre, The Shaw Festival celebrated the launch of its 48th Season with preview performances of Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George at the Royal George Theatre. Preview performances of Sunday in the Park with George began on Tuesday, April 1 and will run through the play's opening on Friday, May 22.

Inspired by maverick pointillist painter Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - 1884", Sunday in the Park with George is a compelling story about love, art, inspiration and community revolving around Seurat (Steven Sutcliffe) during the creation of his now celebrated masterpiece and his fictionalized great-grandson George, a struggling installation artist and inventor. A hundred years later, while visiting La Grande Jatte, the ghosts of the past provide creative encouragement and a connection to the Seurat legacy for his descendant George.

Considered Stephen Sondheim's most personal musical because it looks at the life of the artist, Sunday in the Park with George has been called "an audacious, haunting and, in its own intensely personal way, touching work" by the New York Times. Sondheim, with writer James Lapine, wrote the musical after his own artistic struggles and his announcement that he was leaving musical theatre to write mystery novels. Lapine coaxed him back with the Seurat painting and the idea of imagining the life of an artist who was at times misunderstood, but who also loved to create.

Sunday in the Park with George is directed by award-winning director Alisa Palmer, with musical direction by Paul Sportelli, choreography by Bill Coleman, set and costume design by Judith Bowden, lighting design by Alan Brodie and associate Conductor/pianist Ryan deSouza. The stage management team includes Stage Manager Meredith Macdonald, Assistant Stage Manager Annie McWhinnie and Apprentice Stage Manager Erin Finn.

Sunday in the Park with George plays in repertory until Sunday, November 1 and is sponsored by TD-Canada Trust Music. To learn more about the Shaw Festival, book Shaw tickets or plan a Niagara-on-the-Lake vacation around the Shaw Festival, call locally 905-468-2172 or toll free 1-800-511-SHAW (7429) or visit

About Shaw Festival
Inspired by the brilliance, bravery, humanity and humour of George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival is a crucible of progressive and provocative ideas, which illuminate our understanding of today's world. The Shaw's playbill, centred on the era of Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), covers a diversity of views that shine light on different worlds during a period of extraordinary shift. Please visit our website at for other Shaw Festival media releases.

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Odette Yazbeck
Shaw Festival Theatre
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