Broadway Rehearsals Begin
Sydney Theatre Company’s
by Andrew Upton, after Anton Chekhov’s Platonov
Previews begin 17 December 2016
Opens 8 January 2017 at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre
The complete original cast began rehearsals on Monday 5 December, in New York for the Broadway run of Sydney Theatre Company’ THE PRESENT, Andrew Upton‘s version of Anton Chekhov‘s first play, directed by John Crowley. THE PRESENT will begin previews on Broadway on 17 December 2016 and will open 8 January 2017 at the Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street). The season runs through to 19 March 2017.
Led by Richard Roxburgh (Mikhail) and Cate Blanchett (Anna), the company also includes Anna Bamford (Maria), Andrew Buchanan (Osip), David Downer (Yegor), Eamon Farren (Kirill), Martin Jacobs (Alexei), Brandon McClelland (Dimitri), Jacqueline McKenzie (Sophia), Marshall Napier (Ivan), Susan Prior (Sasha), Chris Ryan (Sergei) and Toby Schmitz (Nikolai).
Variously known as Platonov, Wild Honey, Fatherlessness and The Disinherited, Anton Chekhov’s untitled first play was not discovered until 1920, some 16 years after the playwright’s death.
Andrew Upton’s version is set post-Perestroika in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna. At the centre is the acerbic and witty Platonov with his wife, his former students and friends and their partners. They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fuelled by twenty years of denial, regret and thwarted desire.
In recent years, STC’s international touring profile has increased with tours of Waiting for Godot to the UK, Gross und Klein (Big and Small) to the UK, France, Austria and Germany, both A Streetcar Named Desire and Uncle Vanya to Washington and New York and The Maids to New York. A History of Everything, commissioned by STC as a co-production with Belgian theatre company Onteroend Goed, has had seasons in Chicago and in Belgium, Holland and the UK while Long Day’s Journey into Night played in Portland, Oregon.
Critical acclaim for THE PRESENT in Sydney in 2015:
Jo Litson in the Sunday Telegraph praised the “brilliantly blistering Sydney Theatre Company production. Both (Blanchett and Roxburgh) draw on deep, uninhibited, emotional reserves and their chemistry is electric. As Upton prepares to leave STC at the end of the year, The Present is a thrilling parting gift.”
“If you are lucky enough to be in Sydney, this is a night of theatre you can’t afford to miss” noted Nancy Groves in her five star review in The Guardian of “Andrew Upton’s masterful adaptation of Chekhov’s novice play”. “Their chemistry is electrifying as ever,” she wrote of Blanchett and Roxburgh’s performances, “but The Present is a true ensemble piece, both in its expanded characters and the near perfect cast who bring them to life. Their constantly overlapping dialogue and emotional dance moves are masterfully choreographed by director John Crowley.”
“Roxburgh and Blanchett are superb” said the Daily Telegraph‘s Chris Hook, adding “It’s very much an ensemble effort and all the richer for it. The Present is an exquisitely enjoyable outing to cherish.”
For Time Out, Polly Simons wrote: “That it all works quite so well as it does is in a large part thanks to Upton, who has taken Chekhov’s rough draft and turned it into a production that can sit proudly alongside his other adaptations of the Russian classics. Add in a perceptive director, a cast of Australia’s finest and success is virtually – and deservedly – guaranteed.”
The transfer of The Present to Broadway is produced by Sydney Theatre Company and Stuart Thompson Productions.