Winner of the 1996 Philadelphia Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play and a 1997 finalist for the American Theatre Critics Association's annual New Play Award, Tom Gibbons' drama, Black Russian, receives its NY premiere June 4.
Running to June 21 at Off-Off-Broadway's Theatre Row Theatre, Black Russian tells of a black man who emigrates to Russia during the Great Depression, lured by the promise of socialist equality. Fifty years later, his son visits the U.S. to learn more about his father. In parallel stories, both are seen encountering racism and disillusionment, as well as self discovery.
Developed at CT's Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, Black Russian was first produced by Philadelphia's InterAct Theatre. Seth Rozin, the director at InterAct, repeats his duties in the New York staging. Starring are Elena Katzap, James Rutledge, Geraldine Singer, Frank X [sic] and Vincent Yates. Designing the show are Bill Pierce (sets), Christopher Gorzelnik (lighting), and Carla Gant (costumes). Spokesperson Ron Lasko (of the Zeisler Group) told Playbill On-Line (June 4) the set is especially impressive, as it features "huge flags, half-American, half-Russian, with a huge, sometimes translucent portrait of Stalin in the middle."
Other plays by Gibbons include Homer, The Exhibition and Pretending To America.
For tickets ($12) and information on Black Russian at the Theatre Row Theatre, 424 West 42nd St., call (212) 332-0027. -- By David Lefkowitz