Art, music meld in Fuse Productions’ ‘Sunday in the Park with George’

Fuse Productions will present “Sunday in the Park with George” from Feb. 21-23 at Schwab Auditorium.
Fuse Productions will present “Sunday in the Park with George” from Feb. 21-23 at Schwab Auditorium. Photo provided

Fuse Productions will put on a production of the award-winning 1984 musical, “Sunday in the Park with George” at Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium for one weekend only as part of its 2018-2019 Mainstage season.

Shows will be held on the evenings of Feb. 21-23.

Fuse’s Mainstage productions are typically large-scale and more in-depth, with live accompanying music and casts that utilize the local pool of actors, from local professionals to Penn State students.

The musical, written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, is based off of a famous painting by 19th century artist George Seurat, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” and the story depicts a fictional Seurat and his life as an artist.

The production is directed by Fuse Artistic Director Richard Biever, and the cast is made up of multiple Fuse regulars, including Penn State theater program alumnus J.D. Daw in the lead, Leah Mueller, Martha Traverse, John Nichici, Abbie Jensen, Sarah Rito, Joyce Robinson and Penn State music professor Norman Spivey.

Music direction for the show is headed up by Alex Shields, with scenic design by Lino Toyos, stage management by Gail McCormick, costumes by Julie Snyder, lighting by Tyler Sperrazza and sound by Michael Blake.

“’Sunday in the Park’ is unique in its structure,” Biever said in a press release. “It’s split into two acts that are separated by 100 years, 1884 to 1984. So although we meet Seurat himself in Act One, we have a new set of more contemporary characters in Act Two with new issues and a new relationship to the famous painting. These unexpected turns, as well as how the music functions, are what intrigue me about Sondheim’s work. Every show is different. He never repeated himself.”

Fuse Productions, a State College-based theater group, has been putting on productions and readings at Schwab auditorium since its establishment by Biever in the summer of 2013, including such hits as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Camelot.”

Additional Fuse programs scheduled for 2019 include “Bat Boy” on March 29-30, a reading of “A Doll’s House, Part 2” on April 7, “The Prince’s New Pet” in May, and their final large-scale production for the 2018-2019 Mainstage season, “Jesus Christ Superstar” from June 20-22.

If you go

What: Fuse Productions’ “Sunday in the Park with George”

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21-23

Where: Schwab Auditorium, University Park

Info: www.fuseproductions.org