March 23, 2022

In conversation: The lead performers of MSM Musical Theatre’s Sunday in the Park with George

Stephen Sondheim’s beloved musical Sunday in the Park with George is presented by MSM Musical Theatre for four performances only, March 25–27.

Zane Zapata (BM ’22) and Lyda Jane Harlan (BM ’24) speak about getting ready to perform their leading roles in the upcoming production.

Heading into the final week of rehearsing, how are you both feeling?

Lyda: The entire rehearsal process for Sunday in the Park with George has been an unforgettable experience. I have learned so much from my fellow cast members and the creative team. The process has benefited me immensely as an artist and I have never felt so prepared for a show. Tech week (ed. note: ”tech week” is the final week of rehearsals that incorporate all of the technical elements of the show including the set, props, costumes, lights, and sound into the actor’s performance) is always an overwhelming process but I am so excited to see everyone’s hard work on stage. This cast is so talented and to see everyone’s art lifted up to an extravagant technical level on stage will be an honor in and of itself.

Zane: I feel very prepared thanks to our brilliant director, Don Stephenson. He staged the whole show very early on which made it so much easier to feel confident and go outside the box in the rehearsal room. I’m so proud of this cast and the work we’ve done the past couple of months and can’t wait for them to share it.

“I have learned so much from my fellow cast members and the creative team. The process has benefited me immensely as an artist and I have never felt so prepared for a show.”

What is the most challenging part of the preparation process?

Lyda: One of the most challenging parts of this process was breaking out of my shell for the character development of Dot/Marie. These two ladies are unlike any characters I have played before. Getting out of my head was one of the biggest challenges for me especially because I began the process being so focused on how I sounded musically. But throughout the process, Don, Paul, and Amanda Kate really helped bring to my attention how important Dot’s thought process is and how important her feelings are. It was a reminder of how both ladies really contribute to the story within Sunday in the Park with George.

Zane: The most challenging part about this show is making sure every single word and punctuation is clear. There is not one word that should be taken for granted in this show. It’s my job to make sure the audience has all the information to connect the dots (no pun intended).

What is your biggest takeaway from playing George and Dot?

Lyda: My biggest takeaway from playing Dot/Marie is how important it is to understand and present the meaning behind every single word and phrase of a piece you are working on. It sounds like common sense, but before this show I don’t think I have ever taken the time to analyze every beautifully crafted lyric or line and discover exactly how it needs to be presented to the audience for them to appreciate and feel the story as much as all of us on stage do. I will forever be grateful to Don, Paul, and Amanda Kate for this experience and am so happy to be sharing the stage with an outstanding cast.

Zane: My biggest takeaway from playing George is similar to my last answer in that it’s so imperative to take every word of a song and do the homework/research necessary. A character like this requires a deep dive of preparation and character work way before rehearsals start. If I hadn’t done the work prior to rehearsals, I would have been way behind.  As for a takeaway from the actual character, I truly admire Georges’s passion for his art which inspires me as an actor a great deal.

In rehearsal: Andrew O’Brien (BM ’22), Zane Zapata (BM ’22), Lyda Jade Harlan (BM ’24), <br>and Abby Hammond (BM ’23)

MSM Musical Theatre presents:

Sunday in the Park with George

MAR 25 | FRI
7:30 PM

MAR 26 | SAT
2:30 & 7:30 PM

MAR 27 | SUN
2:30 PM

Don Stephenson, Director
Paul Masse, Music Director

MSM Musical Theatre
Liza Gennaro
, Dean of MSM Musical Theatre

This production is dedicated in honor of
Trustee Emerita Dr. Joan Taub Ades (HonDMA ’14)
and in loving memory of
Dr. Alan M. Ades, 1925-2016 (HonDMA ’14)


Adults $30
Seniors and Students $15
MSM students free admission with i.d.

Neidorff-Karpati Hall
130 Claremont Ave
New York, NY 10027

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