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Order, Design, Tension, Composition, Balance, Light, Harmony: Honoring Sondheim on Seurat's Birthday

December 2nd, 2021 by

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Order, Design, Tension, Composition, Balance, Light, Harmon…

Photo by Martha Swope/NYPL for the Performing Arts

It has been nearly a week since the passing of the legendary musical theatre composer Stephen Sondheim at the age of 91 on November 26, 2021.

Sondheim's extraordinary contributions to the musical theatre including titles Company, Follies, Into The Woods, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd among a brilliant roster of beloved shows, films and melodies.

In remembering Mr. Sondheim, a flood of his moving lyrics from his decades long career poured through social media, television reports, articles, and personal stories remembering the man. "Anything you do. Let it come from you. Then it will be new. Give us more to see." The show this quote so beautifully appears in, Sunday in the Park with George, inspired our story today.

December 2nd is impressionist painter Georges Seurat's birthday - the painter Sondheim along with bookwriter James Lapine immortalized in the 1985 Pulitzer Prize winning for Drama musical. In the show's finale, Dot reminds George of the words he used to repeat when creating his art: "order, design, tension, composition, balance, light, harmony."

Let us honor Stephen Sondheim on Georges Seurat's birthday by pairing these words with Sondheim's moving songs from the show's score.


ORDER "Sunday in the Park With George"


"There are worse things / Than staring at the water / As you're posing for a picture / After sleeping on the ferry / After getting up at seven / To come over to an island / In the middle of a river / Half an hour from the city / On a Sunday" - Dot


DESIGN "Finishing The Hat"


"Mapping out the sky / Finishing a hat... / Starting on a hat... / Finishing a hat... / Look, I made a hat... / Where there never was a hat" - George


TENSION "We Do Not Belong Together"


"You are complete, George / You are your own / We do not belong together / You are complete, George / You all alone / I am unfinished / I am diminished / With or without you" - Dot


COMPOSITION "Chromolume #7" / "Putting It Together"


"Art isn't easy / Every minor detail / Is a major decision / Have to keep things in scale / Have to hold to your vision" - George


BALANCE "Everybody Loves Louis"


"Not that Louis' perfection- / That's what makes him ideal. / Hardly anything worth objection / Louis drinks a bit, / Louis blinks a bit. / Louis makes a connection, / That's the thing that you feel... / We lose things. / And then we choose things. / And there are Louis's / And there are Georges" - Dot


LIGHT "Color and Light"


"But the way she catches light and the color of her hair" - George


HARMONY "Sunday"


"People strolling through the trees / Of a small suburban park / On an island in the river / On and ordinary Sunday" - Company