Sunday in the Park With George
Original Cast Recording
1984: RCA RCD1-5042
Maybe Sweeney Todd is a more perfect musical. I dont know. All I know is that Sunday in the Park with George is at least perfect if not pluperfect, and that its perfection is manifest in the videotape of the original cast performance is like getting Leonardo da Vincis commentary as he paints.
That the audio recording kicks off with a number so solidly dramatic and expository yet also gorgeous and moving and clever is just an opening salvo as to the albums array of astonishments. There are gut-wrenchingly emotional agonies in We Do Not Belong Together and Beautiful, there are drily hilarious tableaux in Its Hot Up Here and Gossip, and still on all tracks (including those four) the twist of sorrow or humor often sits right next to moments of the other end of the spectrum, which gives the impression of glimpsing the other side of the Möbius strip, as it were.
Both Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters deliver magnificent performances here, both as singers and as actorsPeters in particular established herself in my mind as something considerably more than the fluffy bit of comedy-ingénue bit-player she had seemed to be when I first heard of her in the mid-1970s. I am still dazzled by the range of character she delivers in just the opening track alonefrom irked boredom to rapture, down to intimate tenderness and grief and back out to exasperation, all continuous in flow and never less than mesmerizingly compelling.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.