Nijinsky Speaks, a one-man portrait of the famous and tragic Polish-Ukrainian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, opens its eight-week engagement at New York's Harold Clurman Theatre Aug. 24. Leonard Crofoot will play the title role and Dom Salinaro directs.
Nijinsky gave his last performance in 1917, when he was not yet 30. The last half of his life was destroyed by mental illness and he spent much of his time in sanitariums. Nevertheless, his short career cast a long shadow. According to Crofoot, the openly gay Nijinsky departed from his classical training, blending technique and sensuality. He was particularly known for his power of elevation, which made him seem to hover above the stage. As a choreographer, his 1912 ballet Afternoon of a Faun scandalized Paris society, which considered it lascivious. He died in 1950.
Crofoot became interested in Nijinsky after he was asked to portray him in 1995 at a gala honoring the dancer. That led him to write Nijinsky Speaks, which was first workshopped at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts in St. George, UT. It then opened in October 1997 at the Glaxa Studios in L.A. and ran for six months, closing last April.
In previews since Aug. 21, Nijinsky will have an official opening Aug. 24. The show is produced by Stan Mazin and Libby Productions. For information, call (212) 307-4100.
-- By Robert Simonson