Murray Mednick's MAYAKOVSKY AND STALIN to Make NYC Premiere
Legendary poet/playwright and off-off Broadway pioneer Murray Mednick will direct the New York City premiere of his newest work, Mayakovsky and Stalin, at the Cherry Lane Theatre for a four-week run beginning Oct. 17.A dramatic character study incorporating historical footage and photos, Mayakovsky and Stalin explores two distantly connected relationships: that of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and his wife Nadya and of Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and his married lover and "muse" Lilya Brik.A trailblazer of the off- and off-off-Broadway movements in the '60s and '70s when he was playwright-in-residence for Theater Genesis, Mednick wrote such ground-breaking works as The Hawk, The Hunter, Sand, Are You Lookin' and The Deer Kill (1970 Obie award for Outstanding Play). He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he was the founder/artistic director of the Padua Hills Playwrights Workshop/Festival from 1978 to 1995.Mednick's work was last seen in New York when his autobiographical Joe and Betty opened at the José Quintero Theatre on West 42nd Street, then moved a couple of blocks east for an extended run at the Kirk. In his New York Times review, Bruce Weber called it "harrowing, deeply distressing and memorable... you have to admire the brazenness of all the artistic decisions and, from the playwright on down through the cast, the uncompromised upholding of them." In his review of the Los Angeles production of Mayakovsky and Stalin, Anthony Byrnes of NPR affiliate station KCRW said, "With a Mednick play, you feel like you're being invited into the playwright's mind... It's like one of those dreams you have when you're grappling with a big question: not always clear but terribly vivid... let go and let Mednick's words wash over you."Mednick is the recipient of two Rockefeller Foundation grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Theatre Critics Association Best New Play citation (for Joe and Betty), a Career Achievement Award from the LA Weekly, an Ovation award for Lifetime Achievement, a Local Hero Award from Back Stage West, and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle's Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theater.There will be one public preview of Mayakovsky and Stalin on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m., with press previews set for Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19, both at 7 p.m. The opening performance will be on Sunday, October 20 at 2 p.m. Performances continue through Nov. 10 on the same schedule: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.(dark Thursday, Oct. 31). Tickets are $46 (regular seating) and $66 (premium seating). The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce St., New York, NY 10014.For more information and to purchase tickets, call 866-811-4111 or go to CherryLaneTheatre.org.