Art isn’t easy. So say the characters in Sunday in the Park with George, now in a stellar revival at the newly renovated Hudson Theater. Part heady yet playful art history, part love story, the imaginative creation of painter Georges Seurat and his muse Dot from Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, has as its central conceit the painting of his famed “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.” Directed by Sarna Lapine, with Jake Gyllenhaal as the paint-aholic, famous for pointillism, you wonder, how does a person apply color like that, his hands moving in a staccato to the music. Dot, his appropriately named mistress, sits patiently for him but also attempts to distract the artist with daily living. For one thing, she’s carrying his child. Annaleigh Ashford is charming, as she eye rolls, speaking with a slight nasality reminiscent of Judy Holliday. And can she sing!
The Broadway veteran cast includes Robert Sean Leonard, Brooks Ashmanskas, Ruthie Ann Miles, Penny Fuller, Mattea Conforti, at 10 making her Broadway opening debut as Louise. Fresh off Mathilda, she had more poise in front of the flashing cameras than most grown-ups. She said the hardest part of being in the show was standing still --and getting up in the morning for school. Finally Annaleigh Ashford arrived at the library, having changed into a demure Tom Ford sequin-topped dress. The hardest part of playing Dot for her was the pressure to do it right. She said, James told her, just ride the show. It will take you.