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OCU presents Sondheim’s Pulitzer-winning ‘Sunday in the Park with George’

Oklahoma City University presents Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” a musical about the art of making art, April 21-23 as the finale of its 71st season of award-winning opera and music theater.

Inspired by Georges Seurat’s painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande,” the musical won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards.

OCU’s mainstage production will feature a cast of 24, led by guest director/choreographer Joe Locarro and a 19-piece pit orchestra under the baton of Matthew Mailman. Original costumes inspired by Seurat’s artwork are designed by Rachel Barnett.

Performances are at 8 p.m. April 21 and 22, with a 3 p.m. April 23 matinee on OCU’s historic Kirkpatrick stage, 2501 N. Blackwelder. Tickets ($15-$30) are available at okcu.edu/tickets or 405-208-5227. A free director’s talk by Locarro will be held 45 minutes before curtain.

Frank Rich of The New York Times called “Sunday in the Park with George” an “audacious, haunting and, in its own intensely personal way, touching work,” while the Pulitzer jury praised its exploration of “the costs and agonies of artistic creation…and finding strength and courage in a renewed connection with the past.”

“Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s stunning work merges past and present into poignant truths about life, love and the creation of art,” said Locarro, a veteran Broadway performer and award-winning director making his OCU debut. “Seurat's artistic ability thrives while his love diminishes. A century later, Seurat's descendant – also named George and also an artist – seeks the answer to his future in the past. I’m delighted to be working with OCU’s exceptionally talented students and staff to bring this masterpiece to life.”

An opening night dinner, featuring performances by OCU musicians, will be held at 6:15 p.m. April 21 in the atrium of the Bass Music Center. Call 405-208-5227 for dinner tickets ($25) in advance.


More about guest director/choreographer Joe Locarro:

A veteran Broadway performer, Locarro was a member of the original companies of “Ragtime,” “The Goodbye Girl,” “Merlin” and “Paper Moon,” and a cast member with “Les Misérables” (Enjolras) and “Cats” (Munkustrap). He worked with Jerome Robbins as the Tony understudy in the first national tour of “West Side Story” and was featured as the title character in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Last month, he returned to Broadway to perform in the Ragtime 25th Anniversary Benefit Concert, joining his original cast mates alongside OCU alumna Kelli O’Hara.

Locarro has directed theater, film and television productions including three productions each of “Ragtime” and “Les Misérables” as well as “Cabaret,” “Peter Pan,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Pippin,” “Snoopy” and two original music reviews.

His film and television directing credits include “Finding Billy, The Search for Billy Elliot”; the PBS series “Vine Talk,” starring Stanley Tucci; and “Intelligence Squared Debates” as well as the PBS specials “A Tale of Two Cities in Concert” starring Michael York and “Remember Me” featuring Parsons Dance.

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