It's sure been a season for wild Russian comedy in New York. First Orson Bean directed The Quick-Change Room, about a Russian Theatre troupe coping with glasnost (and decreases in government funding). Then a Broadway revival of Chekhov's Ivanov mixed stylized farce with sombre naturalism. Then Karin Coonrod's Arden Party spent Christmas at the Ivanovs. Now Black Snow, by prolific American playwright Keith Reddin, opens at Off-Broadway's Judith Anderson Theatre Feb. 4 for a run through Feb. 14. Previews began Jan. 24.
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Mikail Bulgakov, Black Snow opens with a failed writer about to hang himself. Suddenly, he achieves overwhelming success as a playwright at the Moscow Art Theatre, but he also must cope with autocrats, bureaucrats and artistic compromise.
Winner of the 1993 Best Play Jeff Award after its Chicago premiere at the Goodman, Black Snow will be staged by the Gilgamesh Theatre Group under Ralph Buckley's direction.
Leading a cast of 15 performers are Christopher Duva (On House), Sal Mistretta and Margaret Reed. Russian film composer Alexander Zhurbin provides original music.
Other works by Reddin include Life And Limb (1983), Rum And Coke (1985), Life During Wartime (1990) and a 1993 adaptation of Bulgakov's Black Snow.
For tickets ($12) and information on the New York premiere of Black Snow at the Judith Anderson Theatre, 422 West 42nd St., call (212) 279-4200.
-- By David Lefkowitz