La MaMa to Present the Gate Theatre's THE KREUTZER SONATA, 3/8-25

When it was first published in 1889, Leo Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata immediately became a cause célèbre and was banned by the Russian authorities for its explicit portrayal of the corrupting power of sexual obsession and jealousy. Tolstoy had been inspired by the Beethoven piece of the same name and hoped one day to see his work performed to the accompaniment of music.

Over a century later, London's Gate Theatre has realized Tolstoy's dream, commissioning celebrated young playwright Nancy Harris to adapt Tolstoy's text for a production that incorporates film, live music and performance. The resulting show, directed by the Gate's departing co-Artistic Director Natalie Abrahami, made its world premiere at the Gate in 2009, winning vast critical praise and breaking all of the theater's box office records. Following a return to the Gate, from January 6-February 18 of this year, the production comes to La MaMa's First Floor Theatre (74A East 4th Street) for its American Premiere, running March 8-25.

Performances of The Kreutzer Sonata will take place March 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24 at 7:30 P.M. and March 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 at 2:30 P.M. Critics are welcome as of the first performance on Thursday, March 8 for an official opening of Sunday, March 11. Tickets are $18 ($13 for seniors and students) and can be purchased by visiting www.lamama.org or www.kreutzersonataplay.com, calling 212.475.7710 or visiting the La MaMa box office at 74A East 4th Street.

In The Kreutzer Sonata, a man boards a train, and in the confined space of the carriage, potent memories are triggered. Soon he is confessing to a terrible crime for which he holds Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata responsible.

At La MaMa (and in the limited return engagement at the Gate in January-February), Hilton McRae reprises his role as jealous husband Pozdynyshev. Also returning are original cast members Sophie Scott as Pozdynyshev's wife and Tobias Beer as supposed lover Trukhachevski.

The show is designed by Chloe Lamford, with lighting by Mark Howland, sound by Carolyn Downing, musical direction by Tom Mills, movement by Kate Flatt, film by Dan Stafford Clark, and projections by Ian William Galloway.

The Kreutzer Sonata garnered rave reviews in its world premiere run. In a four-star review, London's The Times called it a "pitch-perfect production." The Telegraph, too, awarded the show four stars, praising Hilton McRae's "expertly understated portrayal of a man who is both a bracing radical thinker and a quietly twisted monomaniac." The Evening Standard said, "Nancy Harris's adaptation, crisp and emotionally intelligent, conveys the power of Tolstoy's original," adding, "Natalie Abrahami's production is uncomfortably atmospheric."

This production is supported by Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Culture Ireland.  Jerwood Young Designers at the Gate is supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation.


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