John Lescault, Natascia Diaz, et al. to Star in BROTHER RUSSIA at Signature Theatre

By: Feb. 07, 2012

The story of the controversial "Mad Monk," Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin is now the subject of the new rock musical Brother Russia, which makes its world premiere at the Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre. The new musical features Music by Dana Rowe and Book and Lyrics by John Dempsey – the award-winning creators behind The Fix (1998) and The Witches of Eastwick (2007). Directed by Signature's Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, the production will star John Lescault (Signature's Art and The Lieutenant of Inishmore) as the infamous and enigmatic Rasputin, Natascia Diaz (Kiss of the Spider Woman at Signature, and Savage in Limbo at MetroStage), Doug Kreeger (Signature's The Visit), Amy McWilliams (Signature's The Witches of Eastwick and Urinetown), and Tracy Lynn Olivera (Les Misérables and Merrily We Roll Along at Signature). Erin Driscoll, Stephen Gregory Smith, Rachel Zampelli, Russell Sunday, Kevin McAllister, and Christopher Mueller round out the cast for this world premiere event. Brother Russia will play at Signature's MAX Theatre from March 6, 2012 through April 15, 2012. Tickets are now on sale.

"Dana Rowe and John Dempsey have created magic on stage before with two astounding musicals here at Signature – The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick – that audiences really loved," Schaeffer said. "We are thrilled to present their newest world premiere of Brother Russia with their distinct, infectious sound. Signature has assembled a remarkable cast and design team to bring this original musical to life. Only John and Dana could create an exciting, new telling of the famous Rasputin story in their own original way."

Brother Russia features an award-winning creative team that includes Jodi Moccia (choreographer), Misha Kachman (set designer), Kathleen Geldard (costume designer), Colin K. Bills (lighting designer), and Matt Rowe (sound designer). Gabriel Mangiante is the Music Director, and Orchestrator August Eriksmoen will conduct the 7-piece band.

In a desolate potato field north of Omsk in southwestern Siberia, a comically fourth-rate Russian theater troupe sets up its ratty tents and wows the local farmers with rock-fueled adaptations of from great Russian writers such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Tonight, however, the company tosses classic literature aside to showcase the life story of their impresario and star, the seemingly immortal Brother Russia – more commonly known as Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Yes, that Rasputin: the hypnotic mystic who seduced and ruled the Tsar and Tsarina in the waning days of Imperial Russia.

Brother Russia is sponsored by Shugoll Research and is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation Award for New American Plays and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Tony Garro, MD.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. There will be no matinee performance on Saturday, March 10. Tickets are now on sale starting at $63. Single tickets are available in person at the Signature Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT. Student discount tickets are $30 and must be purchased the week of the performance. Signature is also offering "$22 for Tuesdays," making available $22 tickets to the first two public Tuesday performances on March 6th and 13th.

The remaining line-up for Signature Theatre's 2011-2012 season features the Tony Award®-winning play God of Carnage and the Washington DC premiere of the cult classic musical Xanadu. Signature is also home to the world premiere works Brother Russia, and Really Really (playing now through March 25th). For more information, please contact the Signature Box Office at (703) 820-9771 or go to our website at

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 37 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.

In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such theatre luminaries as Chita Rivera, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 72 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 293 nominations.

Signature is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and by a gift from Arlington County through the Arlington Commission for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources.