The eight-hour trilogy, directed by Broadway veteran Jack O'Brien ( Hairspray), boasts a cast of 44, including Billy Crudup, Richard Easton, Jennifer Ehle, Josh Hamilton, David Harbour, Jason Butler Harner, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving, Brían F. O'Byrne and Martha Plimpton.
The play was originally set to open Nov. 5, but was delayed to allow Easton, who plays the Russian landowner Alexander Bakunin, to recover from a medical procedure he received to correct a heart arrhythmia. Easton had become ill on Oct. 18 during the show's second preview, which was subsequently cancelled.
The second part of the trilogy, entitled Shipwreck, begins previews Dec. 6 and opens Dec. 21. Part three, Salvage, begins previews Jan. 30, 2007, and opens Feb. 15.
All three parts will continue running, in repertory, until the end of the entire trilogy on March 10. On three Saturdays — Feb. 24, March 3 and March 10 — theatregoers will be able to see all three plays in one-day marathons beginning at 11 AM (though the marathons, according to the LCT website, are now sold out).
The Coast of Utopia is centered on the political and philosophical idealism and debates of mid-19th-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 play has sets by Bob Crowley and Scott Pask, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Natasha Katz, Brian MacDevitt and Kenneth Posner and original music and sound design by Mark Bennett.
The trilogy first appeared under the direction of Trevor Nunn in 2002 at the National Theatre in England.
LCT has produced Stoppard's The Invention of Love, Hapgood and Arcadia.
The Vivian Beaumont Theater is located in Manhattan at 150 West 65th Street in Lincoln Center. For tickets or more information visit www.coastofutopia.com.