OUR CLASS and MERCHANT OF VENICE to Run at Classic Stage Company

Running from September 12 to December 22.

By: May. 09, 2024
OUR CLASS and MERCHANT OF VENICE to Run at Classic Stage Company
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After its sold-out run at Brooklyn Academy of Music in winter 2024, the off-Broadway production Our Class, by Polish playwright Tadeusz Slobodzianek, and helmed by Ukrainian-born, Jewish director Igor Golyak, will transfer to Classic Stage Company's Lynn F. Angelson Theater in Manhattan for a limited run September 12-November 3. It will be immediately followed by Golyak's adaptation of The Merchant of Venice November 22-December 22 featuring the same cast. As wars rage in Israel and Gaza, and in Ukraine, neighbor fights neighbors, and antisemitism rises across the globe, these two plays are acutely relevant and timely, and together comprise a powerful four-month artistic residency Arlekin in New York, presented by MART Foundation.

Our Class follows ten Polish classmates, five Jewish and five Catholic, growing up as playmates, friends, and neighbors, who then turn on one another with life and death consequences. The piece comes at a time when the world is facing an increase in antisemitism across the globe. Our Class was a featured production of the 2024 Under the Radar Festival,and has received multiple award nominations: a Drama League Award Nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play; an Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination for Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play (Gus Birney); and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Projection and Video Design (Eric Dunlap).  

Our Class is the first of two productions that comprise Arlekin in Residency at Classic Stage Company, directed by Igor Golyak, playing back-to-back on the Lynn F. Angelson stage.

The second is a new adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Adapted by Golyak and starring Richard Topol as Shylock, the play will feature much of the same cast as Our Class. The Merchant of Venice will be performed for the first time in New York November 22-December 22.

The cast of Our Class features Gus Birney (The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window) as Dora, Andrey Burkovskiy  (Call DiCaprio!) as Menachem, José Espinosa (Take Me Out) as Rysiek, Tess Goldwyn (New Amsterdam) as Zocha, Will Manning (As Reaper in the Summer Gain) as Heniek, Stephen Ochsner (Chicks) as Jakub Katz, Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof) as Rachelka/Marianna, Richard Topol (Indecent; The Normal Heart) as Abram, Ilia Volok (Gemini Man, The Gaaga) as Władek and Elan Zafir (Hedda Gabler) as Zygmunt.

Much of the company will return for The Merchant of Venice. Richard Topol will play Shylock, joined by Birney, Espinosa, Goldwyn, Ochsner, and Alexandra Silber as Portia. Additional casting to be announced.

The creative teams consist of artists from New York and across the world. For Our Class, scenic designer Jan Pappelbaum of the Schaubuehne, сostume design by Sasha Ageeva, lighting design by Adam Silverman, music by Oscar winner Anna Drubich (Navalny), music direction by Lisa Gutkin, projections design by Eric Dunlap, chalk drawings design by Adreea Mincic, choreography by Or Schraiber, intimacy design by Leana Gardella, hair & makeup design by Timur Sadykov, and dramaturgy by Dr. Rachel Merrill Moss. Kyra Bowie is the production stage manager. Helmed by Golyak, this cross-cultural collaboration between actors, designers, producers, artists and technicians is an effort to untangle traumas of the past and wrestle with these same questions of today. Our Class is co-executive produced by MART's Sofia Kapkova and Arlekin's Sara Stackhouse.

Stackhouse also executive produces The Merchant of Venice.

The Arlekin Residency at Classic Stage Company (September 12–December 22) is helmed by Arlekin artistic director Igor Golyak and producing director Sara Stackhouse (The Orchard; Just Tell No One; State vs. Natasha Banina), in partnership with Sofia Kapkova of MART Foundation.

Tickets for Our Class are available on the official website (https://ourclassplay.com), and run $62.00-$142.00 including fees. Our Class plays Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays at 7:00pm, Thursdays at 7:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm, and Sundays at 1:30pm.

Tickets for The Merchant of Venice are available on the Classic Stage Company website (https://www.classicstage.org/venice), and $62.00-$142.00 including fees. The Merchant of Venice plays Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays at 7:00pm, Thursdays at 7:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm, and Sundays at 1:30pm & 7:00pm.

Golyak, founder of Boston's Arlekin Player Theatre, was born in Kyiv and came to the US as a Jewish refugee at age 11. The New York Times praised him, saying “Igor Golyak is among the most inventive directors working in the United States and The Forward called Igor “a visionary theater maker [who] never thought he'd be ‘Jewish Director' — then the times demanded it.'' In 2022, Golyak conceived and directed The Orchard at Baryshnikov Arts Center starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht. Golyak received global acclaim during the pandemic as he conceived and directed WITNESS, chekhovOS/an experimental game/ and State vs. Natasha Banina, each playing virtually around the world and receiving multiple New York Times Critics Picks.

Arlekin has been warmly welcomed for this artistic residency by CSC Producing Artistic Director Jill Rafson.

“We're so pleased to welcome Arlekin and the riveting work of Igor Golyak into our theater,” says Rafson. “We're thrilled to bring in work that is aligned with CSC's mission and that uses our unique space both to expand the canon and to embrace the theatricality of the Lynn F. Angelson Theater. We're excited about this Arlekin residency and the collaboration with MART Foundation that is making it possible, and we can't wait to share these plays both with the CSC communities and audiences who will set foot in our space for the first time.”

“During its premiere at BAM earlier this year, Our Class struck a nerve and took on a life of its own that continues to grow as world events unfold. With this Our Class transfer to the illustrious Classic Stage Company, we have the opportunity to share it with more audiences, this time with a powerful companion,” said Igor Golyak. “I feel compelled to pair it with The Merchant of Venice because the human tendencies illuminated in Our Class track back through the centuries, and there is an artistic connection between the two pieces — they speak to each other. There are powerful threads that link these incredible stories and our lives today. We think it's important and timely that both plays will be performed all Autumn, on stage in the same theater, with many of the actors acting in both productions, and with the magnificent Richard Topol playing Rabbi Abram and then Shylock. There is no project that feels more important to direct right now than this one."




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