Sunday in the Park with George Is Back! Here’s the Definitive “Finishing the Hat” YouTube Countdown
February 10th, 2017
by Josh Ferri
Broadway officially welcomes Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Sunday in the Park with George back to Broadway on February 11 in a new revival starring Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal as George and Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford as Dot. In anticipation, Gyllenhaal posted a beautiful video of him performing Sondheim’s soul-crusher “Finishing the Hat” at the new Hudson Theatre.
The video then inspired a whole big YouTube spiral of Sunday. So after hours of trolling the Tube, BroadwayBox presents a ranking of 16 other performances of the beloved tune.
16. Kelli O’Hara
It was beautiful, but I can’t say I was incredibly moved…but beautiful for sure!
15. Julian Ovenden
The West End star took Paris by storm with his performance and it’s clear why. Though it feels a touch too operatic for me.
14. Brian Stokes Mitchell
You better slay, Stokes, with those rich tones. I’d love to have seen him play George in a full production.
13. Philip Quast
I’ve never wanted a video so badly. The audio is gorgeous and moving, but I want to see Quast’s face, ‘cause you know it was a damn good performance. #BestJavertEver
12. Nicholas Carroll
The crazy thing about this video is it’s from what looks like a recital at school, and yet it’s incredible. He has such a full voice. Really nice.
11. Tyran Parke
I really enjoyed this Australian star’s interpretation. There are some really great line readings here.
10. Betty Buckley
The thing about Tony winner Betty Buckley is she delivers all the big notes you need and want (beginning at 2:15).
9. David Thaxton
There’s a real power and authority in this West End star’s performance that works for a concert presentation like this. Really nice.
8. Adam Jacobs
Adam Jacobs sounds so good—it reminded me how much I loved his Marius. Let’s get that voice on a classic score ASAP. Just magnificent.
7. Daniel Evans
Broadway’s most recent George Seurat really was spectacular. He was so in the moment, and sounded so beautiful. (I just wish this video wasn’t so jumpy!)
6. Jason Danieley
If you want soaring vocals, look no further. I saw his George live and those vocals are lit AF. And he’s giving a FULL performance at Sirius XM.
5. Raul Esparza
Yes, it’s a bootleg but the other option is not to include the brilliant Raul. There is so much passion here. It’s illuminating.
4. Hugh Panaro
There’s such pain in the early part of his performance that I was immediately all in. He sounds like an angel—there’s a delicacy to it all without ever losing the power.
3. Josh Groban
In all seriousness, I’d love to see Groban and Gyllenhaal switch B’way roles at some point in the future. Jake can do the brooding Pierre in Great Comet and Groban can do the brooding George in Sunday.
2. Michael Cerveris
Good god, Michael. The acting here. So many layers, so many colors. I’m heartbroken. (Also it sits so well in his voice.)
1. Mandy Patinkin
Who could deny Mandel Bruce Patinkin top spot on this countdown?! Not me. Not today; not ever. His is the voice and performance from which all other Georges are measured.
Check out Jake Gyllenhaal's "Finishing the Hat" live at Broadway's Hudson Theatre through April 23.