The Sydney Theatre Company production of
By Andrew Upton, after Anton Chekhov’s Platonov
Starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh
Directed by John Crowley
Previews begin December 17, 2016
Opens on January 8, 2017 at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre
THE PRESENT will begin previews on Broadway Saturday, December 17, 2016 and open Sunday, January 8, 2017 at the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway and will play a limited engagement through Sunday, March 19, 2017.
THE PRESENT features the Sydney Theatre Company Australian cast including Cate Blanchett (Anna) and Richard Roxburgh (Mikhail) and is directed by John Crowley. Additional casting includes Anna Bamford (Maria), Andrew Buchanan (Osip), David Downer (Yegor), Eamon Farren (Kirrill), Martin Jacobs (Alexei), Brandon McClelland (Dimitri), Jacqueline McKenzie (Sophia), Marshall Napier (Ivan), Susan Prior (Sasha), Chris Ryan (Sergei) and Toby Schmitz (Nikolai).
Set and costume design for THE PRESENT is by Alice Babidge with lighting design by Nick Schlieper. Stefan Gregory is Sound Designer and Composer.
THE PRESENT will be produced on Broadway by Stuart Thompson and Sydney Theatre Company.
Variously known as Platonov, Wild Honey, Fatherlessness and The Disinherited, Anton Chekhov’s first play was not discovered until 1920, some 16 years after the playwright’s death. Andrew Upton’s adaptation is set post-Perestroika in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna (Blanchett). At the center is the acerbic and witty Platonov (Roxburgh) with his wife, his former students and friends and their partners. They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fuelled by twenty years of denial, regret and thwarted desire.
Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh are making their Broadway debuts in THE PRESENT. They previously appeared together on the New York stage in Sydney Theatre Company’s acclaimed production of Andrew Upton’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Additionally, Cate Blanchett appeared in New York in Sydney Theatre Company’s productions of Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Maids.
Andrew Upton was at the creative helm of Sydney Theatre Company (STC) for the last eight years, the first five as co-Artistic Director alongside Cate Blanchett. During the Upton/Blanchett years, STC’s international touring profile increased with tours of Waiting for Godot to the UK, Gross und Klein (Big and Small) to the UK, France, Austria and Germany, both A Streetcar Named Desire and Uncle Vanya to Washington and New York and The Maids to New York. A History of Everything, commissioned by STC as a co-production with Belgian theatre company Onteroend Goed, has also had seasons in Chicago and in Belgium, Holland and the UK while Long Day's Journey into Night played in Portland, Oregon.
Australian critical reception for THE PRESENT.
“If you are lucky enough to be in Sydney, this is a night of theatre you can’t afford to miss,” noted Nancy Groves in The Guardian of “Andrew Upton’s masterful adaptation of Chekhov’s novice play. Their (Blanchett and Roxburgh) chemistry is electrifying as ever. Masterfully choreographed by director John Crowley.”
Jo Litson of the Sunday Telegraph praised the “brilliantly blistering Sydney Theatre Company production. Both (Blanchett and Roxburgh) draw on deep, uninhibited, emotional reserves and their chemistry is electric. As Upton prepares to leave STC at the end of the year, The Present is a thrilling parting gift.”
“Roxburgh and Blanchett are superb” pronounced the Daily Telegraph’s Chris Hook, adding “It’s very much an ensemble effort and all the richer for it. The Present is an exquisitely enjoyable outing to cherish.”
CATE BLANCHETT (Anna) A two-time Academy Award winner (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine), Ms. Blanchett’s first major stage role was in 1992 when she starred in David Mamet’s Oleanna opposite Geoffrey Rush for the Sydney Theatre Company, where she was later co-Artistic Director for five years from 2008. Numerous stage appearances in London and New York include Plenty (1999), Hedda Gabler (2006), A Streetcar Named Desire (2009), Uncle Vanya (2012) and The Maids (2014). Her film roles include Carol, Truth, Cinderella, The Monuments Men, Blue Jasmine, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hanna, Robin Hood, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I’m Not There, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Good German, Notes on a Scandal, Babel, Little Fish, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Aviator, Coffee and Cigarettes, The Missing, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Veronica Guerin, Heaven, The Shipping News, Charlotte Gray, Bandits, The Gift, The Talented Mr Ripley, Pushing Tin, Elizabeth, Oscar and Lucinda. Additional awards: Four Helpmann Awards for Best Female Actor in a Play (The Maids, Gross und Klein, Uncle Vanya, Hedda Gabler), two Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Actress in a Lead Role (Gross und Klein, A Streetcar Named Desire), two Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production (Uncle Vanya, A Streetcar Named Desire). Six-time Academy Award nominee, Three Best Actress BAFTAs (Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, The Aviator), AFI Awards (Little Fish, Thank God He Met Lizzie, Oscar and Lucinda), SAG Awards (Blue Jasmine, The Aviator, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), Golden Globe Awards (Blue Jasmine, Elizabeth, I’m Not There), Venice Film Festival’s Volpi Cup for Best Actress (I’m Not There).
RICHARD ROXBURGH (Mikhail) was last seen on the New York stage in Uncle Vanya (New York and Washington, DC). At Sydney Theatre Company he has appeared in Cyrano de Bergerac, Waiting for Godot (London tour), Uncle Vanya, Closer, The Homecoming, Burn This, Once in a Lifetime, Romeo and Juliet, The Country Wife and Pericles. Other theatre includes Toy Symphony, The Seagull, Hamlet, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Wolf’s Banquet (all at the Belvoir St Theatre), Serious Money and The Three Musketeers at the Melbourne Theatre Company, and The Beaux’ Stratagem at the Queensland Theatre Company. He has directed productions of Ray’s Tempest, Twelfth Night and That Eye The Sky. His films include Looking for Grace, Hacksaw Ridge, The Turning, Sanctum, Ice, Matching Jack, Like Minds, Fragile, The One and Only, Moulin Rouge!, Mission Impossible: II, The Last September, Passion, In the Winter Dark, Oscar & Lucinda, Doing Time for Patsy Cline, Thank God He Met Lizzie, Children of the Revolution. He directed the film Romulus My Father. Television appearances include “Rake” (also creator and producer), “Hawke,” “East of Everything,” “False Witness,” “The Silence,” “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” “Blue Murder,” “The Road from Coorain,” “Blonde,” “The Last of the Ryans,” “Twisted Tales: One Way Ticket,” “The Paperman.” His awards include 2014 Helpmann Award for Best Actor (Waiting for Godot), 2014 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actor (Cyrano de Bergerac), 2012 AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama (“Rake”), 2011 Logie Award for Best Actor in a Television Drama (“Rake”), 2010 AFI Award for Best Actor in a Television Drama (“Hawke”), 2008 Helpmann Award for Best Actor and 2007 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actor (Toy Symphony). 2007 AFI Award for Best Film (Romulus My Father). 2006 AFI Award for Best Actor in a Television Drama (“The Silence”). 1997 AFI Award for Best Actor and Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actor (“Doing Time for Patsy Cline”). 1994 Sydney Theatre Critics’ Circle Award and 1995 Green Room Award for Best Actor (Hamlet).
ANDREW UPTON (Playwright) was most recently represented on the New York Stage with his adaptations of Hedda Gabler (2006) and Uncle Vanya (2012) and his co-adaptation of The Maids (2014). He recently stepped down as the Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company after an-8-year tenure. As writer, his first adaptation for STC was Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, which debuted in 1999 and was reprised in 2014 under Andrew’s own direction. His adaptation of Molière’s Don Juan was produced by STC in 2001. A third adaptation, Hedda Gabler, was staged by STC in 2004. His adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard was presented by STC in 2005. His adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (2010) went on to play the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, and was named best play of the year by Washington Post critic Peter Marks. In The New York Times, Ben Brantley declared the three hours of the show “among the happiest of my theatergoing life.” Andrew co-adapted Jean Genet’s The Maids with Benedict Andrews, presented as part of STC’s 2013 season and later in New York, his adaptation of Children of the Sun by Maxim Gorky ran in 2014. Other works for STC include his play Riflemind, staged as part of the 2007 STC season and in London in 2008. Andrew’s adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s Philistines was presented at the National Theatre of Great Britain in 2007 and his adaptation of Bulgakov’s The White Guard was commissioned and presented by the National in 2010. Other work with the National includes his adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard in 2011, which was subsequently broadcast by NT Live, and his adaptation of Children of the Sun in 2013.
JOHN CROWLEY (Director) John Crowley recently directed the acclaimed film Brooklyn which received three Oscar nominations including Best Picture. His Broadway credits include Martin McDonagh's A Behanding in Spokane and The Pillowman (2005 Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play). A Steady Rain with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, and Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock (Roundabout). Other theatre credits include Nick Payne's The Same Deep Water As Me, Tales From Hollywood, The Maids, How I Learned To Drive and Into The Woods (all at The Donmar Warehouse, London); The Playboy Of The Western World (Old Vic Theatre); Love Song, On An Average Day (Sonia Friedman Productions); Fair Ladies At A Game Of Poem Cards and The Pillowman, (Royal National Theatre London); Shadows (Royal Shakespeare Company); The Crucible and Six Characters In Search Of An Author (Abbey Theatre Dublin); True Lines and Double Helix (both devised plays, Bickerstaffe Theatre Company). John's film credits include Boy A for which he received a BAFTA for Best Director, Is Anybody There? and Intermission for which he received the Douglas Hickox Best Debut Director Award at The British Independent Film Awards.
STUART THOMPSON (Producer) has been active on Broadway for many years. Recent credits include King Charles III, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, No Man’s Land / Waiting for Godot, The Testament of Mary, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2012-2013), Death of a Salesman (2012), Jerusalem, The Motherf**ker With the Hat, A View From the Bridge (2010), God of Carnage, Exit the King, all on Broadway, and Mike Bartlett’s play Cock, off Broadway; he is also the executive producer of the U.S. companies of The Book of Mormon.
SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY (Producer). In 1980, Sydney Theatre Company’s first Artistic Director, Richard Wherrett, defined the company mission as to provide ‘first-class theatrical entertainment for the people of Sydney – theatre that is grand, vulgar, intelligent, challenging and fun’. 35 years later, that ethos still rings true as STC offers a diverse program of distinctive theatre of vision and scale at its harbourside home venue, The Wharf; at Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay; and at Sydney Opera House, as its resident theatre company. STC has a proud heritage as a creative hub and incubator for Australian theatre and theatre makers, developing and producing eclectic Australian works, interpretations of classic repertoire and great international writing. The theatre careers of many of Australia’s internationally renowned artists have been launched and fostered at STC, including Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush, Toni Collette, Rose Byrne, Benedict Andrews and Cate Blanchett. STC often collaborates with international artists and companies. Renowned artists Tamás Ascher, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Liv Ullmann, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Blakemore, Max Stafford-Clark, Howard Davies, Declan Donnellan and Isabelle Huppert have all worked with STC in recent years. STC has presented productions by the Abbey Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Complicite, Cheek by Jowl, Out-of-Joint, the National Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.