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A Spectacular World Premiere Closes Out The 2018 Season At Bridge Street Theatre

A Spectacular World Premiere Closes Out The 2018 Season At Bridge Street TheatreCatskill's intimate Bridge Street Theatre will close out its 2018 Subscription Season with a major coup: the world premiere of Philadelphia-based playwright Michael Whistler's brilliant, funny, and touching "Casse Noisette" (The Nutcracker). The play, described by its author as being about "a very quiet man and some very loud music", masterfully interweaves the life of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with that of a deeply-closeted modern-day American high school teacher obsessed with Tchaikovsky's music. Sugar Plum Fairies and phone sex workers collide, and five actors play eleven different roles in two completely different time periods, in this tale about discovering the strength to be true to one's self, whatever the cost.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a musical titan in 19th-Century Russia: hugely popular, incredibly charismatic, deeply emotional, mercurial, explosive. Tortured by his homosexuality, he finds release only in composing and in his love for the son of his invalid sister. Joe Jessup is a quiet, unassuming, and very private high school Earth Sciences teacher in suburban Washington state, a man who has long since resigned himself to not getting exactly what he might wish for out of life. For years, his only emotional outlet has been his love for the music of Tchaikovsky and, more recently, his furtive calls to a gay sex chatline - but merely to listen to the young man on the other end of the phone, never to speak himself. Actor Jason Guy, whom audiences may remember from his tour-de-force performance in Bridge Street's 2017 world premiere of Kieron Barry's "The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade", portrays both these characters as their worlds intertwine and each struggles to find some sort of fulfillment in his life.

The cast also includes Nancy Oarneire Graham as Nancy Klein (a high school co-worker of Joe's) and Antonietta Dell'Era (the original Sugar Plum Fairy in Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker"), Jason Kellerman as Marc Maynes (a coach at the high school where Joe teaches), Modeste Ilyich Tchaikovsky (the composer's brother), and the Consort of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Serena Vesper as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Sasha Ilyinova Davidov (Tchaikovsky's invalid sister), and Bradley Levine as Blaine (a young runaway working for a gay phone sex chatline) and Vladimir "Bob" Lvovitch Davidov (Sasha's son and Tchaikovsky's nephew). Production of this world premiere has been underwritten in part by a generous gift from Duke Dang. The show is directed and designed by Bridge Street Theatre's Artistic and Managing Director John Sowle, with costumes by Jennifer Anderson (BST's "The Revenge of the Space Pandas"). Production Stage Managers are Julia Rothwax and Frank Dianda.

"We previously collaborated with playwright Michael Whistler on his one-act play 'Quimper' over at Stageworks/Hudson a few years back and we're over the moon that he's permitting us to present this magnificent work in its first full production anywhere," says Steven Patterson, Bridge Street Theatre Associate Artist. "New plays are our artistic life's blood here at BST and this one is amazingly accessible - like a mash-up of Masterpiece Theatre and William Inge. We love the parallel stories it tells and the wonderfully theatrical way their clashing realities reflect and amplify one another. And, of course, the entire play is steeped in Tchaikovsky's glorious music. It should be the perfect lead in to the holiday season for our audiences."

Michael Whistler's "Casse Noisette (A Fairy Ballet)" is recommended for audiences ages 16 and older. It plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 2:00 from November 8-18, 2018 at Bridge Street Theatre, located at 44 West Bridge Street, in Catskill, NY, just a block and a half west of Main Street across the Uncle Sam bridge spanning Catskill Creek. Eight performances only. General Admission is $25, Students 21 and under are $10. Discounted advance tickets are available at or by calling 800-838-3006. Tickets will also be sold at the door one half hour prior to each performance subject to availability. "Pay What You Will" performances will be held on Thursday November 8 and Sunday November 11 ("Pay What You Will" tickets are available only at the door one half hour prior to those performances). For further information, visit the theatre online at

Events and performances in Bridge Street Theatre's 2018 Season are made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by Public Funds from the Greene County Legislature through the Greene County Cultural Fund, administered in Greene County by the Greene County Council on the Arts.

Advance tickets available at or by calling 800-838-3006. General Admission $22, $10 for students age 21 and under. Tickets can also be purchased at the door prior to each performance (on a space available basis) for $25, $10 for Students ages 21 & under. "Pay What You Will" tickets available only on the day of performance and go on sale at the door one half hour before curtain time.

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