Nikolai and The Others, Starring Michael Cerveris, Stephen Kunken and John Glover, Opens Off-Broadway
By Adam Hetrick
Nikolai and the Others, the world-premiere play from Richard Nelson that imagines a weekend shared by Russian artists George Balanchine, Igor Stravinsky, Nikolai Nabokov and more, officially opens Off-Broadway May 6 after previews that began April 4 at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.
Award-winning director David Cromer (Tribes, Our Town, The House of Blue Leaves), who also staged the American premiere of Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling for LCT in 2010, helms the 1948-set play in which artistic pursuits and Cold War American politics intermingle. Performances are currently scheduled through June 16.
"My hope is to show a world where the creating of art – in this case of a dance – lives side by side, cheek by jowl, with all other essential and necessary functions of human life; such as eating, drinking, dying, sleeping, dreaming, making love, laughing, remembering, disappointing, and attempting to be generous," Nelson said in production notes for Nikolai and the Others.
The cast, who inhabit a collection of Russian emigres who assemble over the course of a weekend in Westport, CT, includes Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris (Sweeney Todd, Evita) as choreographer George Balanchine, Tony Award winner John Glover (Love! Valour! Compassion!) as composer Igor Stravinsky, Alvin Epstein (Endgame, King Lear) as artist Sergey Sudeikin, Stephen Kunken (Enron) as composer Nikolai Nabokov, Dale Place (Our Town) as conductor Serge Koussevitsky, Tony winner Blair Brown (Copenhagen) as Vera Stravinsky, Tony nominee Kathryn Erbe (The Speed of Darkness) as Natasha Nabokov, as well as Betsy Aidem, Natalia Alonso, Lauren Culpepper, Anthony Cochrane, Jennifer Grace, Katie Kreisler, Haviland Morris, John Procaccino, Michael Rosen, Gareth Saxe and Alan Schmuckler.
According to LCT, "Serge Koussevitsky (Place), painter/set designer Sergey Sudeikin (Epstein) and composer Nikolai Nabokov (Kunken), gather to eat, drink and talk. In Nikolai and the Others playwright Richard Nelson reimagines, during the course of this weekend, the creation of Balanchine and Stravinsky’s historic collaboration, the ballet Orpheus, and explores the interesting and controversial ways American art was funded at the outset of the Cold War."
Nikolai and the Others has sets by Marsha Ginsberg, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Ken Billington, sound by Daniel Kluger, choreography by George Balanchine and ballet staging by Rosemary Dunleavy. Jeff Edwards is ballet master.
Nelson is the Tony Award-winning playwright/adaptor of James Joyce's The Dead. His works also include Two Shakespearean Actors, Farewell to the Theatre, Conversations in Tusculum, as well as the acclaimed trilogy of plays, Sweet and Sad, That Hopey Changey Thing and Sorry. He wrote the book and lyrics and directed the musical My Life with Albertine and also penned the book for the musical Chess.
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