Alan Cumming to Join Dianne Wiest in Classic Stage's Seagull Off-Broadway

By Kenneth Jones
02 Jan 2008

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming

Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will play the selfish writer Trigorin in Classic Stage Company's spring 2008 revival of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, featuring the already announced Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest as his actress-lover, Arkadina.

Russian director and Chekhov expert Viacheslav Dolgachev will stage the Off-Broadway production, which features a translation by Paul Schmidt. Previews will begin Feb. 20 at Classic Stage Company's home at 136 E. 13th Street.

The official opening is March 13. The Seagull will play a limited engagement through March 30.

In the comic-tragic portrait of selfish artists and their offspring and lovers, middle-aged Arkadina and Trigorin are agents of and seem oblivious to the downfall of a younger generation of artists (including Arkadina's son, Konstantin).

The production will have sets by Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto, costumes by Suzy Benzinger and lighting by Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt.



Additional casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

According to CSC, "Written in 1896, The Seagull is widely regarded as Chekhov's first masterpiece, subtly dissecting the affairs of the heart and the demands of a life in the arts, while balancing the comic, the lyric and the tragic in a manner that has become the hallmark of his work."

Wiest (Madame Arkadina) was recently seen on the New York stage in Wendy Wasserstein's Third at Lincoln Center and Kathleen Tolan's Memory House at Playwrights Horizons. On Broadway she appeared in Salome, Solitaire, Othello, Beyond Therapy and In the Summer House. She won Obie Awards for her performances in The Art of Dining, Other Places and Serenading Louie. She won the Academy for "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Hannah and Her Sisters."

Cumming (Trigorin) received the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as The Emcee in Cabaret. He has also been seen on Broadway in The Threepenny Opera and Design for Living. London theatre credits include Bent, The Bacchae, Hamlet at the Donmar Warehouse (for which he won the TMA Best Actor Award), Cabaret, La Bete (Olivier Award nomination), Elle, Conquest of the South Pole (Olivier nomination) and The Accidental Death of an Anarchist at The Royal National Theatre, for which he received an Olivier Award for his performance.

With Jennifer Jason Leigh Cumming co-produced, co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in "The Anniversary Party," which premiered at Cannes and won a National Board of Review Award and two Independent Spirit Award nominations. His latest film as director and star is "Suffering Man's Charity."

Director Dolgachev is the artistic director of the Moscow New Drama Theatre. In the 1980s he was an associate at the theatre that was Chekhov's theatrical home, The Moscow Art Theatre, where he worked under the artistic leadership of famed director Oleg Yefremov "at a time when that theatre was experiencing a renaissance of re-imagining Chekhov for modern Russian audiences." Dolgachev is widely considered to be one of the foremost Chekhovian experts in his field. He has taught and directed Chekhov extensively in Moscow, Switzerland and across the United States, including New York University, Columbia University and currently at the Actors' Center in New York. In 2000 he was awarded the distinction of "Accomplished Artist of Russia."

The Seagull will be performed Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. For tickets and information, visit www.classicstage.org or call (866) 811-4111, or (212) 352-3101, or visit the CSC box-office Monday through Friday noon-6 PM.

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Now in its 40th season, CSC "is the award-winning Off-Broadway theatre committed to re-imagining the classical repertory for a contemporary American audience."

CSC's current production of David Ives' New Jerusalem, directed by Walter Bobbie, starring Tony Award winner Richard Easton, Fyvush Finkel, David Garrison and Jeremy Strong, officially opens Jan. 13 for a limited engagement through Feb. 3.