Nikolai and the Others
By Richard Nelson
Directed by David Cromer
Originally produced at Lincoln Center Theater, New York, NY.
April 4, 2013 through June 6, 2013
About the Premiere Production
It is 1948 and over the course of an early-spring weekend in Westport, Connecticut, a close-knit group of Russian émigrés, including choreographer George Balanchine, composer Igor Stravinsky, conductor Serge Koussevitsky, set designer Sergey Sudeikin, and composer Nikolai Nabokov, gather to eat, drink, talk, and make art. In Nikolai and the Others, playwright Richard Nelson reimagines the genesis of Balanchine and Stravinsky’s historic collaboration, the ballet Orpheus, which led directly to the creation of the New York City Ballet. Illuminating the precarious convergence of culture and politics, Nelson sheds light on the U.S. government’s surreptitious arts funding at the outset of the Cold War. Directed by David Cromer, Nikolai and the Others has been scheduled for a 10½-week run (April 4–June 16, 2013) in the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. The production will be designed by Marsha Ginsberg (sets), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Ken Billington (lighting), and Daniel Kluger (sound). New York City Ballet's Rosemary Dunleavy will recreate Balanchine’s Orpheus choreography to Stravinsky’s piano score (pending rights permission). Commissioned by LCT with support from Ellen and Howard Katz.
This season, we are pleased to bring to the stage an exquisite new work by Richard Nelson, a writer I greatly admire. Richard has a longstanding relationship with our organization; two of his plays (Two Shakespearean Actors, Some Americans Abroad) have been produced by the Theater. Nikolai and the Others was commissioned by LCT, and its world premiere here means a great deal to the writer as the New York City Ballet is one of Lincoln Center’s original constituent companies. David Cromer will stage the piece, requiring an 18-member ensemble of actors and dancers, in our intimate Newhouse. The director returns to this venue for the first time since his debut production there, Andrew Bovell’s When The Rain Stops Falling, presented during our 2009-2010 season to great acclaim and many accolades. I believe that David’s intellectual curiosity and ability to make bold, specific choices, makes him the right director to helm Nikolai and the Others.
Our grant from the Edgerton Foundation will allow us to hold an additional week of rehearsals. Nikolai and the Others is a multi-disciplinary piece (parts of Orpheus are performed to Stravinsky’s score played by an on-stage piano accompanist) and an extra week of rehearsals would not only be helpful, but essential. This supplementary week will help ensure that the director has the proper amount of time not only to work with the large cast and to stage the piece, but also to collaborate with a choreographer to seamlessly integrate portions of Orpheus into the play.
Director: David Cromer
Set Design: Marsha Ginsberg
Lighting Design: Ken Billington
Sound Design: Daniel Kluger
Costume Design: Jane Greenwood
Choreographer: Rosemary Dunleavy
Cast: The cast includes Betsy Aidem, Natalia Alonso, Blair Brown, Michael Cerveris, Anthony Cochrane, Lauren Culpepper, Alvin Epstein, Kathryn Erbe, John Glover, Jennifer B. Grace, Katie Kreisler, Stephen Kunken, Haviland Morris, Dale Place, John Procaccino, Michael Rosen, Garth Saxe and Alan Schmuckler.
Additional funders: Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The New York Community Trust–Mary P. Oenslager Foundation Fund, The Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.