Category Archives: Music


(Tim Ashley’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/19; Dramatic pressure … Endgame. Photograph: Sisi Burn.)

Royal Albert Hall, London
For its UK premiere, György Kurtág’s opera faced a challenge summoning the play’s claustrophobia in this venue, but performances and players were superb

Michael Billington, writing about Endgame in these pages a while ago, once used the phrase “the terrible music of Beckett’s prose” to describe the bitter beauty of the play’s language. In György Kurtág’s opera, the words retain their fierce, lacerating power, though the music extends a deep and ambivalent compassion to Beckett’s characters even as their rebarbative sparring masks fears of decline, isolation, endings and loss. This is not, in essence, the bleak comedy we often find, but a work of pervasive sadness that continues to haunt us after its final notes have died away.

Considered a masterpiece by many at its 2018 Milan premiere, Endgame (more correctly Fin de Partie, as Kurtág uses the French text) has now been given its first UK performance at the Proms by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Ryan Wigglesworth, in a semi-staging by Victoria Newlyn. Playing and conducting, as one might expect, were superb. Wigglesworth dug deep into the score’s detail while maintaining the dramatic pressure throughout, and you couldn’t help but be struck both by Kurtág’s fastidious craftsmanship and the way every verbal and musical gesture tells, often through the sparest and simplest of means. Flaring brass suggested fury, futile or otherwise, and cimbalom taps quietly frayed the protagonists’ nerves. But there were also moments of quite extraordinary beauty, particularly as Nell (Hilary Summers) and Nagg (Leonardo Cortellazzi) lose themselves in memories of the past.

Available on BBC Sounds until 9 October. The Proms continue until 9 September.

(Read more)


Prom 36 – A Space Odyssey-The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner (Jennifer France: soprano, Clare Presland: mezzo-soprano,
Edvard Grieg: Kor, Royal Northern College of Music Chamber Choir, London Philharmonic Choir) perform György Ligeti: Requiem and Lux aeterna followed by Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 11 August 2023
Photo by Mark Allan




(Tim Ashley’s article appeared in the Guardian, 8/13. )

Royal Albert Hall, London
Intense and finely focused performances of the Ligeti and Strauss pieces used in Kubrick’s sci-fi epic revealed every detail of their unearthly majesty and awesome extremes

Like many, I first heard György Ligeti’s music on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when I was a teenager, and for some years after was unable to dissociate its unearthliness from Kubrick’s ambitious vision of human evolution as a product of alien intervention. Edward Gardner’s London Philharmonic Prom marked this year’s Ligeti centenary by acknowledging 2001’s grip on our imaginations, placing his Requiem and Lux Aeterna alongside Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. It’s hard to dissociate the Strauss from some of the film’s most iconic moments, either.

Bleak and sparse despite the awesome volume of sound it can generate, the Requiem, completed in 1965, offers no comfort for the fear and violence it evokes, and hearing it complete (Kubrick only uses the Kyrie) can be unsettling. Gardner’s interpretation was a thing of extremes. The quiet, penumbral opening Introit seemed to hover on the verges of sound and silence. Later, the roaring brass of the Dies Irae pinned you to your seat. The combined forces of the London Philharmonic Choir, Royal Northern College of Music Chamber Choir, and Norway’s Edvard Grieg Kor (Gardner is also their chief conductor) sang with furious intensity. Jennifer France and Clare Presland were the hieratic soloists, their voices finely blended in the ambivalent closing Lacrimosa, its oscillating vocal lines fading away in irresolution.

(Read more)


Prom 36: A Space Odyssey


Live at the BBC Proms: Edward Gardner conducts the London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra, RNCM Chamber Choir and Edvard Grieg Kor, in music by György Ligeti and Richard Strauss.

Presented by Georgia Mann, live from the Royal Albert Hall.

György Ligeti: Requiem

c. 8.05 pm
Interval: Matthew Sweet, presenter of Radio 3’s programme Sound of Cinema, joins Georgia Mann to discuss the use of music in film by Stanley Kubrick.

c. 8.25 pm
György Ligeti: Lux aeterna
Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra

Jennifer France (soprano)
Clare Presland (mezzo-soprano)
Edvard Grieg Kor
Royal Northern College of Music Chamber Choir
London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra
Edward Gardner (conductor)

György Ligeti was one of the boldest voices of the 20th century – a composer whose radical vision brought wit as well as invention to the world of contemporary classical music. Tonight, we hear two of his most famous works – the dramatic Requiem paired with the shimmering Lux aeterna, both of which featured in Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also featured in the film was Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, with the iconic brass opening that calls to mind the image of the sun rising over the Earth and Moon.



(Javier C. Hernandez’s article appeared in The New York Times and Japan Times, 7/27. Photo: Cincinnati Opera’s new production of “Madame Butterfly,” directed by Matthew Ozawa, frames the action as a virtual-reality fantasy of Japan. | MADDIE MCGARVEY / THE NEW YORK TIMES.)


The auditorium lights dimmed, and the cast and crew of Cincinnati Opera’s new production of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” anxiously took their places.

For months, the team, made up largely of Asian and Asian American artists, had worked to reimagine the classic opera, upending its stereotypes about women and Japanese culture. They had updated the look of the opera with costumes and sets partly inspired by anime, scrubbed the libretto of historical inaccuracies and recast much of the work as a video-game fantasy. They gathered at the Cincinnati Music Hall one evening last week to fine-tune their creation before its opening last Saturday.

“It feels a little like a grand experiment,” says the production’s director, Matthew Ozawa, whose father is Japanese and mother is white. “It’s very emotional.”

“Madame Butterfly,” which premiered in 1904 (and is set around that time), tells the story of a lovelorn 15-year-old geisha in Nagasaki who is abandoned by an American Navy lieutenant after he gets her pregnant. The opera has long been criticized for its portrait of Asian women as exotic and submissive, and the use of exaggerated makeup and stereotypical costumes in some productions has drawn fire.

Now, after years of pressure by artists and activists and a growing awareness of anti-Asian hate, many companies are reworking the opera and giving artists of Asian descent a central role in reshaping its message and story. In a milestone, directors with Asian roots are leading four major productions this year in the United States.

San Francisco Opera recently staged a version, directed by Amon Miyamoto, that explored the suffering and discrimination experienced by a biracial character. Boston Lyric Opera is setting part of its coming production in a Chinatown nightclub in San Francisco in the 1940s, and part in an incarceration camp.

New Orleans Opera rewrote the traditional ending in a recent production to give the title character a sense of agency. Instead of committing suicide, she throws aside a dagger handed to her, picks up her son and storms offstage.

(Read more)

(Read at New York Times)


(Gagliano’s remembrance appeared 6/26.)

I met lyricist Sheldon Harnick (died Friday, 23 June, 2023: age 99) once, at the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference. Composer Claibe Richardson and I were working on our musical, “From The Bodoni County Songbook Anthology.” Harnick (“Fiddler On The Roof,” “She Loves Me,” “Fiorello”) was working on a one-act opera, “That Pig Of A Mollette.” 1980’s sometime? I don’t recall much of those lunches (though I suspect we talked about Harnick writing operas (and he wrote many). 

But I do remember recognizing specifically his laugh, because I had heard a recording of an evening devoted to him and his career on the famous NYC  “Lyrics and Lyricists” series, 92nd Street Y, New York City, 2005. Harnick’s sense of delight and whimsey were apparent from the program’s beginning. He started off by singing many of his very early comedy songs: “The Suave Young Man In The Trench Coat,” (A Bogart homage) “They’re Rioting in Africa” (a funny take on man’s inhumanity to man),—“The Boston Beguine” (his first Broadway hit, from the musical revue, “New Faces of 1952”), Below: “The Basilica Of St. Anne” (“I kissed her under that nave/ At The Basilica of St. Anne./There in a scene celestial/ She acted clean/ And I acted bestial. . .”).


Researching Sheldon Harnick’s Oeuvre for the Facebook posting, I was amazed at the range of his lyric (and translating and adaptations) genius, and in so many disparate genres. For a Placido Domingo 1985 Special, he translated the Verdi Rigoletto aria, “Questa o Quella.”For Concerts: One of my favorite song cycles, the Canteloube, “Songs of the Auvergne.” For Bill Baird Marionettes: the Stravinsky Theatre Piece “L’histoire du Soldat” and “Alice In Wonderland.” Bach Cantatas, “The Contest between Phoebus and Pan.” Movie to stage: “It’s a Wonderful Life.”


And of course, we had the glory of the great —now classic— Theater songs. 

Now —more than ever —I would have welcomed more lunches with Sheldon Harnick.


RIP Mr. Harnick.



(Visit Frank Gagliano’s Web site)



[Above Attached: Mp3: Sheldon Harnick sings—“The Basilica of St. Anne” and “Garbage”— at the 2005 “Lyrics and Lyricists” series, 92nd Street Y, New York City, 2005.]


[View New York Times obit./]



(via Angela Yamarone,

Atlantic Theater Company Announces

Complete Casting and Extension for

Exclusive World Premiere Musical Event


Book by Craig Lucas

Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel

Choreography by Sergio Trujillo & Karla Puno Garcia

Directed by Michael Greif

Based on the play by JP Miller and the Warner Bros. film

Produced by special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre


As previously announced starring

Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James


Steven Booth, Sharon Catherine Brown, Bill English, Nicole Ferguson, Olivia Hernandez,

Byron Jennings, David Jennings, Ted Koch,

Ella Dane Morgan, Scarlett Unger, and Kelcey Watson

Performances begin Friday, May 5th, 2023

Opening Monday, June 5th, 2023

Extended through Sunday, July 9th, 2023 

at Linda Gross Theater

Tickets on Sale Now

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is proud to announce additional casting for the world premiere musical Days of Wine and RosesAdapted from the 1962 film and original 1958 teleplay, the new musical will feature a book by Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas, music & lyrics by Tony Award winner Adam Guettel, and direction by Tony Award nominee Michael Greif. 

In addition to the previously announced Kelli O’Hara (The King and I) and Brian d’Arcy James (Into the Woods), Days of Wine and Roses will feature Steven Booth (Tina: the Tina Turner Musical), Sharon Catherine Brown (Caroline, or Change), Bill English (Anything Goes), Nicole Ferguson (Merrily We Roll Along), Olivia Hernandez (Plaza Suite), Byron Jennings (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), David Jennings (Tina: the Tina Turner Musical), Ted Koch (To Kill A Mockingbird), Ella Dane Morgan (Waitress)Scarlett Unger (Off-Broadway debut), and Kelcey Watson (The Oresteia).

Days of Wine and Roses will begin performances on Friday, May 5th and will open on Monday, June 5th for a limited engagement, now extended through Sunday, July 9th Off-Broadway at the Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street).

Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James star in a searing new musical about a couple falling in love in 1950’s New York and struggling against themselves to rebuild a family.

Adapted from JP Miller’s 1962 film and original 1958 teleplay, composer & lyricist Adam Guettel (Floyd Collins) and playwright Craig Lucas (An American in Paris) reunite in their first collaboration since their acclaimed The Light in the Piazza. A world premiere musical directed by Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen).

Days of Wine and Roses will feature choreography by Sergio Trujillo & Karla Puno Garcia, scenic design by Lizzie Clachan, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Ben Stanton, sound design by Kai Harada, music direction by Kimberly Grigsby, music contractor Antoine Silverman, orchestrations by Adam Guettel, additional orchestrations by Jamie Lawrence, hair and wigs by David Brian Brown, and casting by The Telsey Office; Craig BurnsCSAJudith Schoenfeld will serve as the production stage manager. 

In association with Alchemation and Mark Cortale.



KELLI O’HARA (Kirsten Arnesen), star of stage and screen, has established herself as one of Broadway’s greatest leading ladies.  Her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in The King and I garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Grammy, Drama League, Outer Critics, and Olivier Nominations.  She reprised the role while making her West End debut and performed a limited engagement at Tokyo’s Orb Theatre. Kelli received an Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Katie Bonner in Topic’s hit web series, “The Accidental Wolf,” and can currently be seen as Aurora Fane on HBO’s critically acclaimed series, “The Gilded Age.” Other film and television credits include: “13 Reasons Why,” All the Bright Places, “Peter Pan Live!,” Sex & The City 2, Martin Scorsese’s The Key to Reserva, Showtime’s “Master of Sex,” “The Good Fight,” “Blue Bloods,” “N3mbers,” and the animated series “Car Talk.” Other Broadway credits include Kiss Me Kate (Tony, Drama League, OCC nominations), The Bridges of Madison County (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, OCC nominations), Nice Work if You Can Get It (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, OCC nominations), South Pacific (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), The Pajama Game (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), The Light in the Piazza (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Sweet Smell of Success, Follies, Dracula and Jekyll & Hyde. The Times has hailed her as “Broadway musical’s undisputed queen”. She was awarded the prestigious Drama League’s Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award in 2019. In 2015, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Lehar’s The Merry Widow opposite Renee Fleming and in 2018 returned as Despina in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. She was last seen at The Metropolitan Opera in the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ The Hours as Laura Brown. Her concerts have gained international acclaim, spanning from Carnegie Hall to Tokyo.  She is a frequent performer on PBS’s live telecasts, The Kennedy Center Honors, and performs often alongside The New York Philharmonic and The New York Pops. Along with her two Grammy nominations, her solo albums, Always and Wonder in the World, are available on Ghostlight Records. Season 3 of “The Accidental Wolf” is now streaming on Topic. Upcoming, season 2 of “The Gilded Age” on HBO. 

BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES (Joe) is a three-time Tony nominated actor (Into the Woods, Something Rotten!, Shrek the Musical, and Sweet Smell of Success) who just completed star studded run of the Broadway revival of Into The Woods as The Baker. He is nominated for a 2023 Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Supporting Performance for his work in the critically acclaimed independent film The Cathedral currently available on MUBI. He stars opposite Anne Hathaway, Peter Dinklage, and Marisa Tomei in the upcoming Rebecca Miller film She Came to Me, that will open the 2023 Berlin Film Festival in February. Other upcoming film and television projects include Pain Hustlers, opposite Emily Blunt and Chris Evans; Devil’s Peak, with Billy Bob Thornton, Robin Wright, and Jackie Earle Haley; the HBO Max’s miniseries “Love and Death” with Elizabeth Olsen produced by Nicole Kidman and David E. Kelley; and as Bruce Adler (Edward’s father) on Apple TV+’s “Dear Edward,” premiering on Feb 3. In 2015, he originated the role of King George III in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Off-Broadway and reprised the role on Broadway in the summer of 2017. Other Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include: The Ferryman directed by Sam Mendes; Time Stands Still with Laura Linney, Christina Ricci and Eric Bogosian; the Lincoln Center production of Macbeth opposite Ethan Hawke and directed by Jack O’Brien; the Pulitzer Prize–winning musical Next to Normal; Conor McPherson’s The Good Thief (OBIE Award winner); The Wild Party; Port Authority (Lucille Lortel Winner); The Lieutenant of Inishmore; The Apple Tree; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Titanic; Carousel; Blood Brothers and others. Brian starred in the Best Picture Oscar®-winning film Spotlight (2016), the Oscar nominated West Side Story (2021), among many others. 

STEVEN BOOTH (Understudy). Broadway: Tina: the Tina Turner Musical (Phil Spector/Terry Britten), School of Rock (Ned), Glory Days (Will), Avenue Q (Princeton/Rod u/s). Off-Broadway: Dogfight (Gibbs). National tours: Kinky Boots (Charlie Price). Recent Regional: Elf the Musical (Buddy). Film/TV: “Modern Love” (Craig). Much thanks to my manager Steve Maihack. All my love to Molly, Maezie, and Sawyer.

SHARON CATHERINE BROWN (Mrs. Nolan) is the daughter of two former Broadway performers. The native New Yorker was last seen as Marilla Cuthbert in the world premiere of the Broadway bound Anne of Green Gables. Broadway: Caroline, or Change; Head Over Heels; Dreamgirls; Joseph…Dreamcoat; Maggie Flynn. TV: “The Good Fight,” “A Different World,” “Generations.” Film: Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Sister Act II. Sharon was the first black woman to be cast as Lucy in Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll & Hyde and recently played Madame Millet in the workshop of his new musical, Song of Bernadette. Sharon is a frequent guest performer with Seth Rudetsky at the prestigious Cafe Carlyle. Sharon is overjoyed to be reunited with Michael Greif, her director in Rent (Benny Company!). Sharon’s heart is her son, Elijah.

BILL ENGLISH (Texan) is thrilled to join this incredible company and make his Atlantic Theater debut! Broadway: Anything GoesTwentieth Century (Roundabout). NYC/Regional: The Shaggs (NYMF); Streamers (Roundabout); Into the Woods (Flint Rep); Borderland (BAM); The Music Man (ATC); The Full MontyA Christmas Carol (NSMT); While We Were Bowling (CCTP), and others. TV: “The Good Wife,” “Elementary,” “Person of Interest,” “Outnumbered,” “Cavemen,” “Family Guy,” “Melrose Place.” Training: BFA, University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Much love and thanks to Mom, Dad, John, Alicia, Pam, and my KMR team!

NICOLE FERGUSON (Understudy). Roundabout: Merrily We Roll Along. National Tour: My Fair Lady, The King and I, Sister Act. OCU graduate. Thanks to DGRW, Telsey, and all mentors. Love to family, friends, and her partner in crime, Eric Chambliss. @nikki_fergie

OLIVIA HERNANDEZ (Betty) made her Broadway debut last year in Plaza Suite, directed by John Benjamin Hickey. Her regional credits include Elizabeth Bennet in Austen’s Pride (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (The Guthrie), Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins, Laurey in Oklahoma! (Theatre Under The Stars), Guenevere in Camelot (Gulfshore Playhouse), and Songs For A New World (The Cape Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse). Olivia appeared as Susan on the Grammy-nominated world premiere recording of Stephen Schwartz’s Snapshots (Broadway Records). She is a graduate of The University of Michigan’s Musical Theatre Department.

BRYON JENNINGS (Arnesen)Broadway: Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildShe Loves Me, You Can’t Take It With You, Macbeth, Arcadia, The Merchant of Venice, Inherit The Wind, Noises Off, Is He Dead, Accent on Youth, Heartbreak House, A Touch of the Poet, Twelve Angry Men, The Man Who Came To Dinner, A Month in the Country, Henry IV, Dinner At Eight, The Invention of Love, Carousel, Sight Unseen. Off-Broadway: Plenty, Waste, Don Juan, The Foreigner, Dealer’s Choice, Stuff Happens, Pericles, The Merchant of Venice, On the Open Road, The Twenty-seventh Man, Ten Chimneys. Television: “Tommy,” “Fosse/Verdon,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Blacklist,” “The Good Fight,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Elementary,” “Billions,” “Difficult People,” “Deadbeat,” 
“Damages,” “White Collar,” “Kings,” “Gossip Girl.” Film: The Greatest ShowmanThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, True Story, Lincoln, Julie & Julia, Hamlet, Civil Action, The Ice Storm, A Time to Kill, Quiz Show, A Simple Twist of Fate, I’m Losing You.

DAVID JENNINGS (Jim Hungerford). Broadway: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (Richard Bullock); Once On This Island (Armand); After Midnight (Standby for star lead); Hands On A Hardbody. Off-Broadway: The Secret Life Of Bees (standby). West End/London: The Genius Of Ray Charles (Lead). National: Ragtime (Coalhouse); Miss Saigon (John); Kinky Boots (Simon Sr.); Waitress (featured); Porgy & Bess (Porgy); Freaky Friday (Mike); Dreamgirls (Curtis) with Jennifer Holliday; Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Grammy Award nominee for 30th Anniversary Recording). Television: “Law & Order: SVU” (NBC), “Blue Bloods” (CBS); “The Shield” (FX); “The Sinner” (USA); “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO). IG: @djmusicbiz

TED KOCH (Rad). Broadway: To Kill a Mockingbird, JUNK, The Pillowman, Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elling. National Tours: Frost/Nixon, Death of a Salesman. Off-Broadway and Regional credits include: The Gravediggers Lullaby and Abundance (TACT); The Seagull (Huntington Theatre); Strange Interlude (Shakespeare Theatre); Donnybrook! (Irish Rep); God of Carnage (Pittsburgh Public); Snow Falling on Cedars (Hartford Stage); Sweet Bird of Youth (Williamstown Theatre); True West (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes nomination Best Actor); A Streetcar Named Desire (Buffalo Arena); All’s Well That Ends Well (Goodman Theatre). Television credits include: “Dear Edward,” “FBI Most Wanted,” “Succession,” “New Amsterdam,” “Bull,” “The Get Down,” “The Path,” “Blindspot,” “Elementary,” “The Americans,” “Punisher,” “Person of Interest,” “The Good Wife,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Law & Order,” “Ed.” Films include: Cold Souls, Ratter, Hannibal, Englishman In New York, Death of a Salesman, Love to Leenya, Autumn in New York, Dinner Rush. 

ELLA DANE MORGAN (Lila), 11 years old, is thrilled to be returning to the stage in Days of Wine and Roses. Ella first appeared on Broadway at the age of 4 in Waitress (2016-2017). During her year in Waitress, she could also be seen performing with the cast in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and on “Good Morning America.” Ella has since performed in many local productions through Playhouse Stage Company and Saratoga Children’s Theatre. While theater is Ella’s first love, she has also enjoyed working on films (Girl Clown, Columbarium, Ellie, Impossible Choice), TV (“Diabolical”), and voiceovers for several upcoming projects. Ella can often be found at a dance studio training in ballet, en pointe, tap, lyrical, modern, or musical theater. She also trains in taekwondo and enjoys rock climbing. In her free time Ella usually has a Rick Riordan book in hand or an art project in the works.

SCARLETT UNGER (Understudy) is thrilled and so grateful to join Days of Wine and Roses, her Off-Broadway debut! Scarlett is a singer, actor, and dancer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She absolutely loves performing and has competed in regional singing and dance competitions since she was a tater-tot. She also really enjoys improv, traveling with her family, shopping, hanging out with her doggies, and playing Roblox with her friends. National tour: Waitress. Regional Theatre: A Christmas Carol and Evita. TV: “Welcome to Flatch” (FOX) and “Ordinary Joe” (NBC). Voice Over: BebeFinn (Netflix, YouTube) and Pinkfong Sing-Along Movie 2. Huge thanks: The Telsey Office, Lil Angels Unlimited, Stewart Talent, KUTalent, her family, and her amazing, wonderful coaches and teachers. 

KELCEY WATSON (Understudy) makes his debut at Atlantic Theater. He started out doing theater in his hometown of Omaha, NE, where he would meet and study under the tutelage of John Beasley for nearly a decade at the John Beasley Theater and Workshop. Focusing mainly on the works of August Wilson and African American renditions of American plays. His theater credits include: The Oresteia (Shakespeare Theater Company D.C.); Six Degrees of Separation (Blue Barn Theater); Minstrel Show! Or The Lynching Of William Brown (NJ Rep); The Piano Lesson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences (John Beasley Theater and Workshop); Hollywood In The Hood (Watts Village Theatre Co.); Radio Golf – understudy (A Noise Within); Sweat (Boise Contemporary Theater). TV credits: “Mad About You,” Ryan Murphy’s “Hollywood,” “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Murder..,” “East Of La Brea,” “Snowfall.” Film: The Way. Education: American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NYC) and ‘The School’ at Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago).

CRAIG LUCAS (Book) wrote the plays Blue Window, Change Agent, The Dying Gaul, God’s Heart, I Was Most Alive with You, The Lying Lesson, Missing PersonsReckless, Prayer for My Enemy, Ode to Joy, Prelude to a Kiss, The Singing Forest, Small Tragedy, Stranger; books for the musicals Amélie, An American in Paris, Days of Wine and Roses, The Light in the Piazza, Marry Me A Little, Three Postcards; screenplays for Blue Window, Longtime Companion, Prelude to a Kiss, Reckless, The Dying Gaul, Secret Lives of Dentists; the opera libretti for Orpheus in Love, Two Boys; and the ballet libretto for Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. He directed world premieres of The Light in the PiazzaI Was Most Alive With You, Ode to JoyChange Agent This Thing of Darkness (co-author David Schulner) and Harry Kondoleon’s plays Saved or Destroyed & Play Yourself & the movies The Dying Gaul Birds of America. He received the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, Drama Desk, Obie, L.A. Drama Critics, Laura Pels/PEN Mid-career, LAMBDA Literary, Hull-Warriner, Sundance Audience, Flora Roberts, Madge Evans-Sidney Kingsley & the Steinberg/ACTA Best Play & the Hermitage Greenfield Prize among other honors.

ADAM GUETTEL (Music, Lyrics and Orchestrations) is a composer/lyricist and teacher living in New York City. He was nominated for the 2019 Tony Award for Best Original Score for To Kill a Mockingbird. Other theater credits include The Light in the Piazza (2005; Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations; Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Orchestrations; Grammy Award nomination for Best Musical Theater Album; cast album on Nonesuch Records), Floyd Collins (1996 at Playwrights Horizons; Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, Obie Award for Best Music; cast album on Nonesuch Records), and Saturn Returns (1998 at The Public Theater; recorded by Nonesuch Records as Myths and Hymns). Other awards include the Stephen Sondheim Award (1990), the ASCAP New Horizons Award (1997), and the American Composers Orchestra Award (2005). He received an honorary doctorate from Lehman College in 2007 and was made an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in 2019.

MICHAEL GREIF (Director). Notable productions on and off Broadway include: The Low Road, Fucking A, Dogeaters, Giant, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide, Romeo and Juliet, Machinal at The Public and Delacorte; Our Lady of KibehoA Few Stout Individuals, Landscape of the Body, Angels in America at NY’s Signature Theater; Dear Evan HansenNext to Normal (also Arena Stage and Broadway), A ParallelogramMake Believe at Second Stage; Grey Gardens (also Broadway), Far From HeavenSpatter Pattern at Playwrights Horizons; Street SceneTherese Raquin, The Cherry Orchard at Williamstown Theater Festival; and Rent at the New York Theater Workshop and Broadway. Most recently, he, along with Schele Williams, co-directed the critically acclaimed musical adaption of The Notebook at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director). At Atlantic, our aim is singular—to empower simple and honest storytelling that fosters greater understanding of our shared world. We are a family of artists dedicated to exploring essential truths onstage, be it a show at Atlantic Theater Company or a class at Atlantic Acting School. As a producer, presenter, and educator of theater, we are driven by the belief that theater can challenge and transform our ways of thinking and urge us to reflect on our role in society. From our Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning productions to our community-based education programs, we are committed to uncovering and celebrating the stories of our varied human existence. Founded as an ensemble of impassioned artists in 1985, Atlantic Theater Company has grown into a powerhouse Off-Broadway company. We challenge, inspire, and awaken audiences with truthful storytelling presented across our two venues, the Linda Gross Theater and the intimate Stage 2 black-box. As a producer of compelling new works, we are committed to championing the stories from new and established artists alike, amplifying the voices of emerging playwrights through our deeply collaborative programs and initiatives. We have produced more than 200 plays and musicals including Tony Award-winning productions of The Band’s Visit (David Yazbek, Itamar Moses), Spring Awakening (Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik), and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh); Pulitzer Prize recipient Between Riverside and Crazy (Stephen Adly Guirgis); New York Drama Critics’ Circle winners for Best New Play The Night Alive (Conor McPherson) and Best Foreign Play Hangmen (Martin McDonagh); Obie Award winners for Best New American Play Guards at the Taj and Describe the Night (Rajiv Joseph); Obie Award Special Citation recipient Skeleton Crew (Dominique Morisseau); Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award and Lucille Lortel Award winner English (Sanaz Toossi); and New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk Award, and Lucille Lortel Award winner for Best New Musical Kimberly Akimbo (David Lindsay-Abaire, Jeanine Tesori).



Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.

Monday evening performance on 6/19, 7/3 at 7pm.

Sunday evening performance on 6/7, 6/14, 6/21, 6/28 at 7pm.

No Wednesday matinee performance on 5/17, 5/24.

No Saturday matinee performance on 5/6.


Regular tickets are on sale now. Order online at or by calling AudienceView at 646-989-7996.




(Rostyslav Khotin’s article appeared on Radio Free Europe, 3 /4.)

Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky had Ukrainian roots and was influenced by Ukrainian motifs.

Should he stay or should he go?

That’s the question sparking heated debate in Ukraine about the man whose name adorns a renowned conservatory in the heart of Kyiv: Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky was certainly not a Ukrainophobe. He was connected to Ukraine in many ways through his work. Though Tchaikovsky was not a great Ukrainophile, either.”

— Ukrainian cultural critic Maksym Strikha

In the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, students at the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine, previously known as the Kyiv Conservatory, have pushed for the removal of the Russian composer’s name from their university.

And while they’ve received backing in their effort from the Ukrainian government, which views the composer as a tool in the Kremlin’s imperial designs, the academy’s faculty in late December opted to keep the composer’s name.

The debate comes amid measures to “de-Russify” Ukraine across the country since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine a year ago last month. Multiple Ukrainian cities have removed statues of the Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, while streets honoring the 19th century writer have been renamed.

In June 2022, the conservatory’s academic council voted to leave Tchaikovsky’s name in place, emphasizing the Ukrainian roots of the composer, whose great-grandfather was born in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, which has been struck with heavy Russian aerial bombardment.

In November, an online petition filed with the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for the conservatory to drop Tchaikovsky’s name, saying it “spits” on “the independence of Ukrainian culture,” though the petition fell short of the 25,000-signature threshold for the president’s consideration.

The following month, the conservatory’s academic council again voted to keep Tchaikovsky’s name in place until further review, a decision that Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko called “disappointing.”

“We hope that the team will return soon to at last make the final decision,” Tkachenko wrote.

Chinese Considerations

Founded in 1863, the Kyiv Conservatory was renamed in honor of Tchaikovsky by the Soviet government in 1940, just in time for the composer’s 100th birthday.

Tchaikovsky considered himself a Russian composer, despite his Ukrainian roots and Ukrainian influences in his music, but the debate about removing his name from the academy only emerged following Russia’s invasion last year.

In an e-mail to RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, student activists wrote that the decision to rename the conservatory is hampered in part by considerations of its branch in China.

(Read more)


(Olena Makarenko’s reporting appeared in the Kyiv Independent, 2/2/23.)

Following a three-month break after the start of Russia’s all-out war, the National Opera of Ukraine resumed its performances. With some of its members serving in the army, and having dropped all Russian pieces from the repertoire, the theater team argues that art is always political.

Visit Ukraine National Opera


(Sarah Crompton’s article appeared in the Guardian, 2/12/23; Photo:  ‘I think you must do it just by feel’: Dada Masilo’s interpretation of The Rite of Spring, based on the traditional dance of Botswana, has its UK premiere later this month. Photograph: John Hogg.)

Stravinsky’s ballet sensation of 1913 shocked its first Paris audience. More than 150 versions later, the far-reaching pull of this modernist masterpiece remains irresistible…

For a work that changed the course of dance, introducing a blast of modernism into a conventional art form, Vaslav Nijinsky’s The Rite of Spring had a surprisingly short shelf life. Despite more than 130 fraught and complicated rehearsals as the dancers struggled to get to grips with the stylised steps and Stravinsky’s radical rhythms, Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes performed it only 10 times before consigning it to the history books.

Even the famous riot that greeted its premiere in Paris on 29 May 1913 is a subject of some dispute. In his new book, Diaghilev’s Empire, Rupert Christiansen says that there are more than 100 accounts of the events of that night and they are “wildly at variance and even downright contradictory… Some scarcely dwell on the hubbub.”


But what is without doubt is that from the second the soaring bassoon starts to play the melody that marks the opening, the music has propelled itself into the heart of western culture, its searing power undimmed by time. I heard Stravinsky’s score and read about Nijinsky’s Rite long before I saw any version of the ballet, poring over descriptions of its creation – where a young Marie Rambert was recruited to help with the counts and then quietly fell in love with its creator – and looking at photographs of the dancers in poses with turned-in legs and uncomfortable felt costumes.

The first production I ever saw was Kenneth MacMillan’s at the Royal Ballet, made in 1962 and slightly dated now, with its Sidney Nolan designs and dancers in long matted wigs and pointe shoes, like predatory insects.

The music never fails to thrill, but the ultimate fascination of Rite is just how wide-reaching its inspiration has been: two new versions, one by the South African choreographer Dada Masilo, the other by the British dance-maker Seeta Patel, are about to tour the UK. Both have their roots far outside western ballet and now take their place alongside more than 150 danced versions of the Rite already in existence, dating back to 1920 when Léonide Massine made one to replace Nijinsky’s original.

That Rite’s US premiere in 1930 starred a young Martha Graham, who went on to create her own version at the age of 90. The American choreographer Lester Horton switched the action to the wild west; the pioneering Mary Wigman and the dramatic Maurice Béjart emphasised the erotic qualities of a piece that culminates in a virgin dancing herself to death. Michael Clark’s Mmm… added music by the Sex Pistols and Stephen Sondheim and featured his mother giving birth to him on stage.

The majority, though, follow the pattern mapped out by Stravinsky in collaboration with the Russian mystic and expert on folk rituals Nicholas Roerich, who conceived the work as a pagan rite in which a tribe of elders welcome the spring by sacrificing a chosen maiden to guarantee the earth’s continued fertility. The score is divided into sections with titles such as Procession of the Sage and Glorification of the Chosen One.

Perhaps the most influential modern version was made in 1975 by the dance theatre pioneer Pina Bausch. Performed on an earth-covered floor, it emphasises the patriarchal, animalistic nature of the ritual, portraying a terrified young woman sacrificed to appease the misogyny of the male elders. A touring production of Bausch’s piece, performed by a specially created company of dancers recruited from 14 African countries, was one of the three versions of Rite seen at London’s Sadler’s Wells theatre last year. (Dancing at Dusk, a film capturing its creation in Senegal in the middle of Covid returns to Sadler’s Wells’s Digital Stage this month.)

This was followed by the distinguished Swedish choreographer Mats Ek’s re-envisioning for English National Ballet that staged Rite as an intimate family drama, with an arranged marriage as its theme. Finally, the flamenco dancer Israel Galván performed a devastating solo flamenco interpretation that seemed to hold a conversation with the splintering complexities of Stravinsky’s score. Both are choreographers who are finding new ways to interpret the music and the narrative arc. “I wanted to tell the story in a way that makes it mine, in the way I read the music,” Ek told me at the time. “The music is my guidance, and I have to have my own meeting with it.”

(Read more)



(Boyan Tonchev’s and Will Tizard’s report is  from Radio Free Europe, 12/16.)

(The report is by Boyan Tonchev and Will Tizard,  from Radio Free Europe, 12/16.)

Musico is a glowing, vertical, keyless musical instrument and drum kit that responds to touch and gesture — but it’s no toy. The novel device was designed to allow deaf and blind children to make music together and to appeal to those on the autism spectrum. Bulgarian visual artist Polina Gerasimova and a team of engineers and musicians created Musico with infrared sensors to detect movement, producing the sounds of a small orchestra. Their mission: Allow blind children to hear a melody while the deaf can see music in color.

(see more)