It's 1948 and during a spring weekend in Westport, Connecticut a close-knit group of Russian emigres, including choreographer George Balanchine, composer Igor Stravinsky, conductor Serge Koussevitsky, painter/set designer Sergey Sudeikin and composer Nikolai Nabokov, gather to eat, drink and talk.
In NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS playwright Richard Nelson (Some Americans Abroad, Two Shakespearean Actors) imagines the relationships between Balanchine and Stravinsky, their friends, lovers, wives and ex-wives, partners, supporters and dancers (including Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes), at the time of their historic collaboration on the ballet Orpheus. Later that year, Orpheus would be the spectacular inaugural production of the newly formed New York City Ballet. With this in mind, the play also explores the controversial ways American art and artistic institutions were funded at the outset of the Cold War -- including the subtle hand of the State Department in the post-war cultural scene.
This was the world premiere of NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS, commissioned by Lincoln Center Theater. It was directed by David Cromer (When the Rain Stops Falling at LCT, and acclaimed productions of Our Town and Tribes at Barrow Street) who took this momentous weekend in the country and brought it to life with a wonderful cast. Interspersed throughout the action of the play were moments of Balanchine's original Orpheus choreography.