Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a new comedic production written by Christopher Durang and inspired by the work of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. The world premiere will play in New Jersey at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center. Preview performances began on September 7, but the production officially opens on September 14, and will continue through October 7. The show was originally schedule to close a week earlier, but due to ticket demand, the run was extended an extra week, as noted on PrincentonInfo.com.
Vanya and Soniaand Masha and Spike is co-produced by the Lincoln Center Theater and McCarter Theatre. After its initial run at the McCarter Theatre Center, the show will move to the Off-Broadway Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, from October 25 through January 12.
“We are building a season around the most talented and accomplished artists in the theater today. Christopher Durang and his director Nicholas Martin, Edward Albee and his director Emily Mann, and Rebecca Taichman are drawing upon their remarkable talents to create work that brings our audiences the extraordinary experiences they have come to expect at McCarter,” McCarter Producing Director Mara Isaacs told BroadwayWorld.com.
The comedy blends characters and themes from Chekhov’s major plays:Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard, and The Seagull.
According to Playbill.com, Durang says, “My play is not a Chekhov parody. I’ve been saying that I take Chekhov scenes and characters and put them into a blender. It’s my hope you don’t have to know Chekhov super-well to enjoy it. ˝ Throughout his career, Durang has written many other satires and absurd comedies, such asSister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, Beyond Therapy, Why Torture Is Wrong, and The People Who Love Them.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is set in present-day Bucks County, PA. Vanya (David Hyde Pierce) and his stepsister Sonia (Kristine Nielsen) have lived their entire lives in the farmhouse they grew up in. They grew bitter while their older sister, Masha (Sigourney Weaver), traveled the world as a successful actress, leaving them to take care of their sick parents. Their prophetic cleaning woman Cassandra warns them of a bleak future, which includes a surprise visit from their sister Masha and her new boy-toy Spike (Billy Magnussen). Despite its serious subject, the play is a wacky comedy.
David Hyde Pierce first met Durang 30 years ago, when Pierce made his Broadway debut in Durang’s Beyond Therapy. Durang and Sigourney Weaver met in the 1970s, while they were both in graduate school at Yale University. Kristine Nielsen is also a friend of Durang’s from his Yale days; she has performed in many of his works.
Sigourney Weaver says of the production, “I never thought of Chekhov and Durang together, but they are a very moving blend,” as noted on PrincetonInfo.org.
This production is directed by Nicholas Martin, whose previous credits include Butley, Match, Hedda Gabler, The New Century, and many more. The production also features Genevieve Angelson, Shalita Grant, and Billy Magnussen.
The creative team includes: Mark Bennett as music and sound designer, David Korins as set designer, Emily Rebholz as costume designer, Justin Townsend as lighting designer, Cheryl Mintz as production stage manager, and Daniel Swee as casting director.
For more information on the production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike visit www.mccarter.org.