Showboat brings out its ‘Sunday’ best
Written by: David Burke – Quad City Times
The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre concludes a superb summer with Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George.”
Michael Detmer, who has been the MVP of the boat this year, excels again as painter Georges Seurat and his modern-day counterpart. Although I was thrown at first by his boyish face under a Seurat beard, his vocals and acting were again superb.
Nicole Horton, whose every performance in the two seasons I’ve seen her has been outstanding, nearly tops herself here as Dot, Georges’ mistress, with a spunky performance, strong singing and, unfortunately, a comically oversized bustle.
Director and scenic designer Patrick Stinson brings Seurat’s work to life in projections on a backstage screen, adding and subtracting material as it’s brought up in the dialogue. Detmer, apparently a pretty fair artist in his own right, follows along with a sketchbook. Each of the characters in the painting is brought in for a rich backstage tableau just before intermission.
Music director Thea Engelson leads a four-piece pit, placed in the balcony, that provides a lush accompaniment.
“George,” as with all work by Sondheim, is divisive: Some will love it, others won’t. It’s the fourth time I’ve seen the musical, the second time this year, and the Showboat version gave me lines I hadn’t caught in previous incarnations.
It’s a wonderful way to conclude a summer on the river.