LCT favorite Jack O'Brien (The Invention of Love, Henry IV) will direct (Trevor Nunn directed in London) and Bob Crowley will design a new set. According to the New York Times, Stoppard will be editing the script between now and 2005. The show will be staged at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, which is currently being renovated.
The Coast of Utopia consists of three plays titled Voyage, Shipwreck and Salvage and is centered on the political and philosophical idealism and debates of mid-nineteenth-century Russia, examining the movements that excited artists and thinkers in those days. The show moves chronologically on from the 1830s, when the great Romantic poet Pushkin was still alive and his epic poem "Eugene Onegin" was all the rage in educated circles.
The main characters are the anarchist Michael Bakunin (played by Douglas Henshall in London) who was to challenge Marx (played by Paul Ritter) for the soul of the masses; Ivan Turgenev (played by Guy Henry), author of some of the most enduring works in Russian literature; the brilliant, erratic young critic Vissarion Belinsky (played by Will Keen); and Alexander Herzen (played by Stephen Dillane).
The critical reaction to The Coast Of Utopia was mixed, with The Evening Standard praising it unreservedly while the Guardian referred to its as "heroically ambitious and wildly uneven." The Times regretted the "longeurs, its dips of energy, its relentlessly protracted arguments," yet also found it "refreshingly ambitious" and refered to director Trevor Nunn's "usual skill" and concluded that "Stoppard's piece does sing. You leave it sated, exhausted, impressed." The Daily Telegraph said "this awesomely dramatic canvas must be counted a courageous failure rather than a knock-out success."
LCT has in the past produced Stoppard's Hapgood, The Invention of Love and Arcadia.