Theater: June 2006 Archives

I wrote about the show at the beginning of June. It has been extended until June 30th, so you have no excuse if you miss it.

One would think a newspaper that gave the world Jason Blair and Judith Miller as "trusted sources" would be more careful, but it appears they don't even bother with verifying facts for theater productions. In a city where they are still the newspaper that can make or break a theatrical production, that can be deadly.

I know the difference between 13P and the New Georges, having written about both. The New York Times apparently does not. The recent show Dead City, about which I wrote on June 1st, was attributed to 13P rather than the New Georges, which really isn't fair to a small theater company trying to get its name out there. Culturebot has more on the story.

Related: 13P has a new play by Kate E. Ryan, titled Mark Smith running through June 24 at 46 Walker Street in Tribeca.


Tom Hulce as Mozart in Milos Forman's Amadeus

Before today, I never knew that Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus, which was the basis for one of my favorite films of all time, was a riff (to be kind) on Pushkin. I learned from the essays for today's concert of the American Symphony Orchestra that Alexander Pushkin wrote a short play called Mozart and Salieri that is rather familiar to those of us who know the Shaffer play.

I love the words of Mozart towards the end of the Pushkin work. At this point he is unaware that he has been poisoned by by his friend Salieri (which has little, if any, historical basis). The "you" refers to Salieri.

If all could feel like you the power of harmony!
But no: the world could not go on then. None
Would bother with the needs of lowly life;
All would surrender to spontaneous art.
We chosen ones are few, we happy idlers,
who care not for contemptible usefulness,
But only of the beautiful are priests.
Is that not so? But I'm not well just now.
Something oppresses me. I need to sleep.

On a slightly related note, Tom Hulce is one of the producers of the excellent new musical, Spring Awakening, at the Atlantic Theater.

Portrait of Alexander Herzen (1867)

Portrait of Alexander Herzen (1867), Painted by Nikolai Gay [source]

Ooh! Ooh! I want to see this!

Lincoln Center Theater has set dates for its production of Tom Stoppard's award-winning trilogy of plays, The Coast of Utopia, to take place at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The first part of the trilogy, entilted Voyage, will start performances on October 17, and the last part of the trilogy, Salvage, will conclude on March 11.

During the final three and one-half weeks of the production's run, audiences will have the opportunity to see all three parts of the trilogy in successive performances. In addition, on three Saturdays -- February 24, March 3 and March 10 -- theatergoers will be able to see all three parts in one-day marathons beginning at 11am.


Beginning in mid-19th century Russia during the repressive reign of Tsar Nicholas I, the play spans a period of 30 years. It tells the panoramic story of a group of Russian intellectuals, headed by the radical theorist and editor Alexander Herzen, the novelist Ivan Turgenev, the literary critic Vissarion Belinsky, and the aristocrat-turned-anarchist Michael Bakunin, who lead a band of like-minded countrymen in a revolutionary movement in which they strive to change and fix a political system by using their minds as their only weapon.

Voyage, which is set in the Russian countryside as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg, will open officially on November 5. Part two, entilted Shipwreck, begins 13 years later outside Moscow and follows the characters' exile to Paris, Dresden, and Nice. It begins previews on December 5 and opens officially on December 21. Salvage, which takes place over a period of 12 years in London and Geneva, begins previews on January 30 and opens officially on February 15.

I've been wanting to see this since I first read about it four years ago on The Observer's web site. My favorite paragraph of the article:

Marx distrusted Herzen, and was despised by him in return. Herzen had no time for the kind of mono-theory that bound history, progress and individual autonomy to some overarching abstraction like Marx's material dialecticism. What he did have time for - and what bound Isaiah Berlin to him - was the individual over the collective, the actual over the theoretical. What he detested above all was the conceit that future bliss justified present sacrifice and bloodshed. The future, said Herzen, was the offspring of accident and wilfulness. There was no libretto or destination, and there was always as much in front as behind.


While Mom was visiting, we took her to see a wonderful new play by Sheila Callaghan, titled Dead City. We saw the first preview, but the cast and production were so good I wouldn't have guessed that we weren't well into the run. The title is a reference to a song by Patti Smith, and the form of the play is inspired by James Joyce's Ulysses. It's presented by the New Georges, a theater group dedicated to producing works by female playwrights. Our friend the director Anne Kauffman is a member.

From their website:

DEAD CITY is a contemporary riff on Joyce's Ulysses, set 100 years after the novel, in New York City, with a woman protagonist. Just as Ulysses is a story of Dublin, DEAD CITY is consumed with the feel of our city, in our time.

A play which riffs on Ulysses, Patti Smith, and Rimbaud is worth a visit to downtown Manhattan, and the wondefully space-age 3 Legged Dog Art and Technology Center is a great place to see a work that uses quite a bit of video projections and other multimedia. The video and production design is by William Cusick. I wrote about another project of his, The Big Art Group's House of No More. The Village Voice has an interview with the playwright if you want to learn more.

It opens tonight at 7, and runs through June 24th 30th. Tickets are only $19, but if you use the code "NGWEB" on the Smarttix site, it's only $12. How can you go wrong at that price?

hallway of 3ld

Hallway of 3LD center

[photo at top is from the New Georges]

This page is an archive of entries in the Theater category from June 2006.

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