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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


The Hermitage Theater, that spunky brainchild of director Mikhail Levitin, has unveiled a program of Leviye vechera, or, in creative English translation, "Off-the-Wall Evenings." It is a series that will give the theater a chance to host irregular and informal performances by talented friends and supporters. The first guest was Yuly Kim, the playwright and singer-songwriter, who headlined an evening called "The Heart Grows Weary Without Theater." Others who have agreed to perform in the future are the singer Yelena Kamburova, the theatrical composer Vladimir Dashkevich, the poet Bella Akhmadulina and the writer Fazil Iskander.


Money, or the lack thereof, is playing havoc with two of Moscow's most talked-about shows. The Tabakov Theater may have to drop its spectacular production of "The Deadly Number" after just five early-October performances because it cannot afford to fork out the 2,000,000 rubles it costs to run each show. In a similar bind is the Fomenko Studio with its new production, "The Puppet Show." Disappointing artistically, it nonetheless drew high spectator interest during a recent three-day run at the Mossoviet Theater. But an inside source says no further performances are planned. Why? The studio does not have its own big stage and it can't afford the 10 million rubles per night it costs to rent a hall.


The Tsaritsyno Theater is well into its second season under new Principal Director Alexander Kanevsky. He recently unveiled an earnest interpretation of Cole Porter's musical, "Kiss Me Kate," itself a pleasantly frivolous modernization of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." The show's young cast, all recent graduates of the Gnesin Musical Institute, may be more suited to European operettas than American musicals, but some of the voices are impressive indeed. Meanwhile, the large dance scenes, though quite simple, are admirably precise and snappy.

--John Freedman