Friday, 10 August 2018
“I don't really believe in God,” says award-winning singer, actor and director Tyran Parke. “But I do believe in Sondheim.”
In 2007, Parke’s lead performance in the Australian premiere of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Sunday in the Park with George, was described as ‘flawless’ and ‘stellar’.
Just over a decade later, Parke returns to the show – and his alma mater – on the other side of the footlights, directing the 3rd Year Music Theatre students in WAAPA’s production of this unconventional musical.
“Being back at WAAPA exactly 20 years since I graduated from the Music Theatre course, now as the director of this show, feels like life imitating art. And I couldn’t be more thrilled,” says Parke.
Art is the inspiration behind Sunday in the Park with George, with Sondheim and Lapine basing the story on the great French post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat and his famous pointillist painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
The plot revolves around George, an obsessive painter who risks it all – including his relationship with his lover Dot – to finish his latest masterpiece. A century later, George’s great-grandson is a conflicted contemporary artist searching for meaning in his life and work.
“Sunday in the Park with George is about the legacy you leave,” says Parke. “It's about how connecting with your past allows you the possibility of your future.”
Parke describes the musical as a work that has grown in stature since it premiered on Broadway in 1984 through its ability to stay relevant and speak across the decades.
“I’m so excited to uncover this version, created through the collaborative engagement of the collective talents of all the WAAPA theatre makers. It promises to shimmer like the art on which it is based.”
Parke brings a wealth of experience as an award-winning director, singer and actor to this production. Since graduating from WAAPA in 1999 he has worked on over 80 professional productions, weaving his magic on stages across the country in the form of musicals, operas and new Australian works.
Most recently, Parke was the recipient of a 2018 Greenroom Award for best director of a musical for Ordinary Days at Melbourne’s Chapel Off Chapel.
“For a modern, character-driven musical, there is no better director in Australia than Tyran Parke, a proven master at illuminating the minutiae of human connections,” wrote critic Simon Parris in his review of Ordinary Days. “Parke’s subtle, yet highly detailed direction brings the characters vividly to life.”
On the strength of this ringing endorsement, WAAPA’s production of Sunday in the Park with George promises to be a musical not to miss.
Sunday in the Park with George will be performed by WAAPA’s 3rd Year Music Theatre students under the direction of Tyran Parke from Saturday, 25 August to Saturday, 1 September in the Geoff Gibbs Theatre.
Tyran Parke’s visit to WAAPA is proudly supported by the Holly Wood Trust.
For all venue and performance details, please visit the Sunday in the Park with George performance web page.