PARTNERS AND TALENT
American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation - www.ARCCF.org
Baryshnikov Arts Center
Green Lamp Press - www.alexanderpushkin.com
Julian Henry Lowenfeld, Translator, Composer & Director - www.AlexanderPushkin.com
Nadezhda S. Braginskaya, Literary Consultant
Natalya Kolotova, Maly Dramatic Theatre of St. Petersburg, Consultant to the Production
Luiz Simas, Music Director - www.LuizSimas.com
Lea Orth, Art Director
Gail Cooper-Hecht, Costume Designer
Derek Wright, Lighting Designer
Yelena Yavorskaya, LIMIT8-CZA, Branding & Website design - www.limit8design.com
Shirley Herz Associates, Press Representative
NYCPR Group, Russian Press Representative - www.nycprgroup.com
*Pamela Pedington, Production Stage Manager
Rick Shulman, Associate General Manager
Laura Heller, General Manager - www.LauraHeller.com
Adam Blanshay, Associate Producer
The American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation
To encourage and support increased cultural exchange between the United States and Russia, The American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1992 pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Central to our organization is the belief that mutual appreciation of the cultures of our two peoples is the firmest foundation for peace. Russia has a rich cultural history that has produced some of the world’s greatest artists. However, the financial capability of Russian institutions to seize opportunities for cultural exchange is diminished greatly by the country’s primary commitment to transforming its economy. To address the problem of financial support for cultural exchange, a group of distinguished Americans, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Russian Federation, created this foundation.
Translator, Composer & Director
Julian Henry Lowenfeld’s verse translation of Pushkin’s "Little Tragedies" has been praised as “brilliant” by leading authorities in both Russia and the United States, including such major scholars as V.E. Bagno, director of the Pushkin House in the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg; E.A. Bogatyrev, Director of the of the State Museum of Alexander Pushkin in Moscow; Pushkin Prize winner Professor V.S. Nepomnyashchiy; Academician S.A Fomichev; as well as professors of Columbia, Princeton, Harvard, Pennsylvania State, and Lehigh Universities.
Lowenfeld is the great-grandson of Raphael Löwenfeld, the first translator of Leo Tolstoy’s works into German. (Vladimir Nabokov first began writing poems and short stories under the pseudonym V. Sirin during the year he lived in Löwenfeld’s home in Berlin). Lowenfeld majored in Russian literature at Harvard University and continued his studies first as an exchange student in Leningrad State University, and later independently with the renowned Pushkin scholar Nadyezhda Braginskaya. He has lectured to popular acclaim at the famous Pushkinsky Dom (Institute of Russian Literature), and the Museum of Pushkin’s Last Residence on Moika 12, in St. Petersburg, at Pushkin State Museum in Moscow, at the United Nations, the Pushkin House in London, England, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., Columbia University, Lehigh University, various branches of the New York Public Library and Boston Public Library, the Donnell Arts Center, the Voice of America, BBC Russian World Service, Kanal Kultura, most of the major Russian television channels, and numerous other venues.
Lowenfeld was awarded Russia's prestigious "Petropol" and "Peacemaker" prizes for his book My Talisman, featuring translations of beloved lyrics and a lively biography of Russia's beloved national bard.
Professor Nadezhda S. Braginskaya, a well-known radio and newspaper commentator in both Russia and the U.S., has won the "Pushkin Medal" and the "Sakharov Prize" for numerous and outstanding contributions to the study of the life and works of Alexander Pushkin.
Consultant to the Production
Natalya Kolotova, a recipient of numerous awards for theatrical excellence, has been since 1985 one of the principal directors of the world-famous Maly Dramatic Theatre of St. Petersburg
She directs productions throughout Russia and Europe, as well as chairing the St. Petersburg State Theatrical-Dramatic Academy, headmastered by the world-famous head director Lev Dodin. She has directed plays by Shakespeare, Gogol’, Chekhov, Vampilov, Gorky, Molière, Schiller, Ostrovsky, Mrozek, Shvarts, Stoppard, Williams, Coward, and Brecht, and has adapted for dramatic performances works by E.T.A. Hoffman, Dostoyevsky, Zamyatin, Goethe, and Laclos.
Music Director, Actor
Luiz Simas was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a composer, singer and pianist, and he has performed and recorded with many of the top Brazilian artists. Many of his songs have been recorded in Brazil and in the US, and he also composed several soundtracks for tv. Simas was the first musician in Rio to use a synthesizer, and he composed and recorded sound effects for several tv and radio networks, including the trademark sound for Brazil’s principal network (TV Globo).
Living in New York since 1989, he has performed as a solo singer/pianist, as well as with his own group in various jazz clubs, jazz festivals, universities and music halls, both in the US and in Europe, in the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad, British Virgin Islands) and in Brazil.
Simas is also a very sought-after music director, having worked in the US and In Brazil in numerous recordings and live performances with several jazz and Brazilian jazz artists. He is also a teacher of Brazilian popular music history, having given several courses at CUNY’s graduate center on the subject.
Selected Performances at Music Halls and Universities:
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
Roger Williams University (RI)
Consulate of Poland
Greater Harford Academy of the Arts
Greater Princeton Steinway Society
City University of New York Graduate Center
Cinema Arts Center, (Huntington, LI)
Brazilian-American Cultural Center (Washington, DC)
Buschnell Theater (Hartford, CT)
Atheneum (Providence, RI)
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, CT)
Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ)
Nassau Community College (Nassau, LI)
Sesc Avenida Paulista (São Paulo, Brazil)
Sala Cecilia Meireles (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Santosha Arts Center (LI)
Jazz clubs and festivals
Oslo Jazz Festival (Oslo, Norway)
Sala Jazz Series (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Chopin and Friends Festival (Consulate of Poland, NYC)
Hartford International Jazz Festival (Hartford, CT)
Rocky Mountain Ragtime Festival (Boulder, CO)
Birdland Jazz Club
Village Gate (as Music Director and Keyboard Player for legendary Brazilian singer Elza Soares)
Mistura Fina Jazz Club (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Main and Hopewell Jazz Club (Glansbury, CT)
Gate’s Pub (Brasilia, Brazil)
Letras e Expressões (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Arts Nights at Europa Club (Brooklyn, NY)
BargeMusic (Brooklyn, NY)
Set Design: “The Miracle Worker”, “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men”, and “The Rimers of Eldritch” Inge Theatre, Scenic Art: “Oh! Calcutta!” with Harry Darrow, at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (production moved to the Edison for 5,959 performances).
Costume Design: “No Place to Be Somebody” written & directed by Charles Gordone, starring Terry Alexander, American Theatre, DC, “Nezahualcoyotl“ and Latin American Dance costumes for Teatro Doble, Resident designer for Library Theatre, DC touring company, costumed dozens of plays and dance performances. “Shenandoah” and “My Fat Friend”, Marco Polo Dinner Theatre, Miami “The Glass Menagerie”, Newark, DE. Asst Costumer: “Nutcracker”, Washington Ballet. Program & publicity art, show specific for “Sun Son” an early play by Bill Russell, Inge Theatre.
Produced and Directed “The Legend of Pearl Hart” at the Barrow Group Theatre. Starring Laurie Gamache and George Riddle. Actively involved in the Off-Off Broadway Theatre movement in the 1980s, Producing & Art Direction for new plays and readings. In the 1990s, co-founded Theatre West 97 with Laurie Gamache, producing and art direction for musicals including, “The Me Nobody Knows”, “How to Eat Like a Child” directed by Larry Hirschhorn., and “Rosy, the Sleeping Beauty” co-written with Mark York.
Asst to Producer: Ed Yoe at the American Theatre, DC, for the pre-Broadway run of “Something’s Afoot”, directed by Tony Tanner, and “Rainbow, Rainbeam, Radio Roadshow” by James & Ted Rado. Worked with the Ford’s Theatre, The Back Alley, Folger Library Theatre, and The Melting Pot,
Art Director and Photographic Stylist: editorials, covers and ads: Seventeen, Brides, Modern Bride, L’Homo Vogue, Elegant Bride (cover with Kate Beckinsale) & Bridal Guide.
Masters in Arts Administration, Columbia University (studied with Gerald Schoenfeld and Bernard Jacobs), BFA, University of Kansas in Theatre Design. Married to Philip Alan Storck, two sons, Aaron & Ryan.
More than 400 productions on Broadway and Off, National and International Tours, Regional Theaters, TV, and Operas, including productions for Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Carol Channing, Maurice Evans, Helen Hayes, Robert Goulet, Eartha KItt, etc. Has been Resident Designer for the Mirror Rep.for more than 20 years; even designing Geraldine Page’s Academy Award dress. Including last season in NYC: “Three Mo Tenors” (Little Shubert), “Room Service”(Soho Playhouse), “Arrivals” (Bank St.), “Fugue” (Cherry Lane), “Yiddish Pirates of Penzance” (Folksbiene), “A Stone Carver” (Soho Playhouse), “Shanghai Gesture” (Mirror Rep). A graduate of Boston University’s SFA&A, has taught Costume Design at Marymount Manhattan College , a board member of the League of Professional Theatre Women and member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.
Laura Heller has been managing shows in New York since 1980. She is currently General Manager on "Sammy and me" , a one-man musical about a performer's complex relationship with Sammy Davis Jr. starring the multi-talented Eric Jordan Young.
She served as General Manager on the hit Broadway musical "Xanadu", "Legends!" (the national tour starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans), "Enchanted April" (starring Jayne Atkinson and Molly Ringwald), "The Great American Trailer Park musical", "A jew grows in Brooklyn", "The joys of sex", "White people" (starring Robert Sean Leonard), "Beau Jest" (ran 2 years), "A room of one's own" (starring Eileen Atkins), "American Rhapsody", "Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill", "Greetings!", Mump & Shoot in ‘Caged’ with WOG (Canadian Horror Clowns), "Scent of the roses" (starring Julie Harris) and "A Whistle in the dark".
Other shows as Company and/or Associate General Manager include: "Sly Fox" (starring Richard Dreyfuss and Eric Stoltz), "Forever Tango", "Modern orthodox" (starring Molly Ringwald, Craig Bierko and Jason Biggs), "Mr. Goldwyn" (starring Alan King), "Stomp" (the first 5 years in New York and business manager for road companies), "Love Janis" (took over as General Manager), "Over the river and through the woods", "If love were all" (starring Twiggy), "Forbidden Broadway", the LA company of "Love Letters" (casts included Carol Burnett & Leslie Nielsen, Mathew Broderick & Helen Hunt and Gwen Verdon & Patrick O’Neal), "Money Talks", "Making movies", "Birds of Paradise", and "The Common Pursuit".
Ms. Heller managed the Provincetown Playhouse in Manhattan for three years. She is half of the general management company the General Manager Group (GMG), with Peter Bogyo. She is a member of the Broadway League, the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM), is a founding member of the Stage Manager's Association (SMA) and is a Tony Voter. Her daughter is the singer, Madeline Stern.
Adam Blanshay's producing credits include off-Broadway: "Piaf: Love Conquers All" (SoHo Playhouse), Scott Nevins "One Night Stand" (New World Stages). Tours: Scott Nevins "RECE$$IONI$TA & Celebutant". Mr. Blanshay also produced the U.S. Premiere of Award-Winning Playwright Daniel MacIvor's "His Greatness" at the New York International Fringe Festival. He is an associate producer on the upcoming musical version of "Doctor Zhivago", directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys), set to open in Melbourne, Australia in November 2010. He works for Waxman Williams Entertainment, a Broadway Production company, which has garnered seventy-one Tony nominations, and sixteen Tony Awards. In addition, he is an accomplished director, and his work has been seen off-Broadway and regionally.
Alexander pushkin (1799-1837)
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, is unquestionably Russia’s most beloved writer, “the sunshine of Russian poetry” the “Prophet” of all Russian literature. His works span 16 volumes of inspired verse in a breath-taking variety of meters and genres, as well as prose, fairy tales, histories, letters, philosophy, and criticism. Devotion to Pushkin is something akin to a second religion for educated Russians; in the words of the famous critic Appollon Grigoriev: “Pushkin is our all.”
Pushkin’s poetic legacy includes the verse novel "Eugene Onegin", the verse tragedy "Boris Godunov", thousands of both dramatic and romantic poems, as well as longer verse narratives such as "The Bronze Horseman", "Ruslan and Lyudmila", "Poltava", "Count Nulin", "The Gyspies", "The Prisoner of the Caucasus", "The Gabrieliad", "The Tale of Tsar Saltan", "The Golden Cockerel" and many others.
Pushkin is also the fountainhead of Russian prose; writers from Gogol to Dostoyevsky to Tolstoy to Turgenev to Chekhov all accord Pushkin the first and highest place in the great pantheon of Russian prose masters, with his most beloved works being his novel "The Captain’s Daughter", and his unsurpassed short stories, including "The Queen of Spades", "Dubrovsky", and "The Tales of Belkin".
Pushkin’s verse drama "Little Tragedies" “represent the absolute pinnacle of brilliance in all Russian dramatic art” according to D.S. Mirsky’s definitive "History of Russian Literature" (published in 1925).
Over 3000 musical compositions by over 1000 composers are based on Pushkin’s works, including over 41 operas, 19 ballets, 20 symphonies, and over 2000 songs set to his beloved lyrics. Pushkin was also an inspired visual artist, whose manuscripts sparkle with winsome and poetic drawings.
The poet’s life was itself highly dramatic: a meteoric rise to fame, two exiles, a term of house arrest, perpetual censorship, spying, restrictions, material hardships, and hostility from imperial authorities and society alike. His biting wit and keen sense of honor landed him in around twenty duels, none fatal except the last, when he was killed defending his wife’s honor. For a short and vivid biography accompanying a one volume essential Pushkin reader, see My Talisman: The Lyric Poetry of Alexander Pushkin, by Julian Henry Lowenfeld, Green Lamp Press, New York 2004.
*Robert Carin, Actor
Robert Carin studied at the NYU Tisch School for Performing Arts Conservatory. He appeared there in the first NY production of Tony Kushner's Perestroika. He is aslo played in several regional productions, and work-shopped several shows at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He currently teaches English as a second language at Borough Manhattan College and is the proud father of Cole, 19 month old son.
Television & Film : "Another World" (NED AIMES/recurring), NBC, "As the world turns" (OSCAR), CBS
"No man's land" (FOSTER/understudy), Roundabout Theatre/David Jones
NY & Regional Theatre: "The taming of the shrew" (HORTENSIO), The Shakespear Theatre, Washington DC; "As you like it" (ORLANDO), Ge Va Theatre, Rochester NY; "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (LYSANDER), Illinois Shakespeare Festival; "Like Two Eagles" (MOSHE), Synchronicity Stage, NYC; "The Window" (HERDON), The Work House, NYC; "Kaspar" (KASPAR), Cafe Bustelo, NYC; "Tales of the Third World" (various), West Bank Theatre, NYC; "Arcadia" (SEPTIMUS/ VALENTINE), Mark Taper Forum; "The Boys Next Door" (BARRY), Long Island Playhouse; "Psycho Beach Party" (STAR CAT), The Complex Theatre; "Improvolution" (various), Improvisation Toupe
*Karen Jane Chapman, Actress
Roundabout, Frida: Enirco IV, Jessica: The Merchant (staged reading); National Actors’ Theatre (Broadway), Marcelle Paillardin (cover): A Little Hotel on the Side; Metropolitan Opera, Ida: Die Fledermaus; ACC, Nurse Ratched: One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest. Regional credits include a season at the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, Washington, DC and at Center Stage, Baltimore, Madame Dubois Duphin and Suster Claire in Cyrano de Bergerac. Television, Stacey Phillips: Another Life; Shana Sloane; Loving.
Other fun things -- one woman show, written by Chapman: Molly Menkins’ Will (Shakespeare); Alice Faulkner: Sherlock Holmes; Nun: Denis Leary’s Merry F#%$in Christmas; Titania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Audiobooks; Voiceovers, and Quincy (her dog). She considers it her great good fortune, after graduation from the University of Delaware and study at the University of Bath, to have studied with Bobby Lewis, and the dancers’ dancer, Luigi, in New York.
*Stephen Innocenzi, Actor
Stephen Innocenzi most recently appeared in David Sard’s modern reworking of Oedipus, "The Ballad of Eddie and Jo" at The Hudson Guild Theater, and also played a younger Yogi Berra in Robin Rice Lichtig’s "Déjà vu All Over Again" for New Jersey Rep. Other New York credits include the title role in Anton Chekhov’s "Ivanov", The Dauphin in George Bernard Shaw’s "St. Joan", Major Arnold in Ronald Harwood’s "Taking Sides", Vinnie in Ralph Pape’s "Warm And Tender Love", Dr. Kroll in Henrik Ibsen’s Rosmersholm, and Adolf in "August Strindberg’s Creditors". On television he has co-starred on "Law And Order" and "100 Centre Street".
Nika Leoni, Actress/Soprano
The Russian-born soprano Nika Leoni has toured internationally, appearing on theater and concert stages throughout Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
Her most recent appearance was in the role of Pamina in Classical Presentations’ new production of Kinder-Zauberflöte in Innsbruck, Austria. Other roles include Handel’s Alcina (Alcina) in Austria, Micaëla (Carmen) in Germany, Gilda (Rigoletto) in Germany, Zerlina (Don Giovanni)and Oscar (Un ballo in maschera) in the Czech Republic. In the United States, Nika Leoni appeared as Mary Lee in the newly composed opera A.F.R.A.I.D. that had premiered at the 2005 New York Fringe Festival. Ms. Leoni also performed with the Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Domani, Opera Company of Brooklyn, Salon Opera, Classical Presentations (New York), and Pocket Opera (San Francisco), appearing in the roles of Susanna (Les Nozze di Figaro), Zerlina and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Giulietta (I Capuleti ed i Montecchi), Dalinda (Ariodante), Angelica (Orlando), Norina (Don Pasquale), Despina (Così fan tutte), Amor (Orfeo ed Euridice), Adina (L’Elisir d’amor), Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Manon (Manon), Thaïs (Thaïs), Governess (Turn of the Screw), and Mimi (La Bohème). The 1st Prize Winner and Finalist in several prestigious singing competitions, Ms. Leoni also performed in concerts with orchestra at the Gasteig Philharmonie in Munich, Berlin Philharmonie, City Theater in Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic, Richmond Youth Chamber Collegium in Virginia, and the Filharmonia Sudecka in Wałbrzych, Poland.
*Brandon Ruckdashel, Actor
Brandon's selected credits include:Off-Broadway: "Ascension" (The Lion), "A body without a head" (Manhattan Theatre Source).
NY Benefits: "Spontaneous combustion" by the writers of "Family Guy" (Manhattan Theatre Source), "Screamout Louise" (Joe's Pub), "Jekyll & Hyde" (Ethical Society).
Los Angeles Theatre: "Twist" (Avery Schreiber), "The next big thing" (Art Works).
Television & Film: "Life On Top" & "Coed Confidential: Spring Break" (HBO/Cinemax), "The Lair" (HERE!),
"National Debt" (Jerry Zucker). Brandon is represented by Barney Oldfield Management.
*John Leonard Thompson, Actor
John Leonard Thompson has done tons of plays on (most recently, Butley) and off-Broadway (latest: Sin at the New Group and The Lonely Way at The Mint), internationally, the national tours of Angels in America and The Graduate, and at many theatres across the country, including Syracuse Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville (premieres: Jack and Jill, Reverse Transcription and Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom), Seattle Rep, Old Globe, Arena Stage (company member for eight years) and Berkeley Rep, where he appeared in the premiere of Sarah Ruhl's latest, In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play. On film, work includes Guarding Tess, Killer and Soho, They Call It and Empty Chairs; on television, All My Children, Law & Order, Third Watch, Sesame Street, and the made-for-TV movies Summer Switch, The Shady Hill Kidnapping and A Woman Named Jackie.
*Peter Von Berg, Actor
Peter Von Berg is a film and theater actor. His film work includes appearances in “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks, “The Funeral Party”, ”A Killing on Brighton Beach”, and “Rollerball”. Theater credits include the title role in Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”, directed by Arnold Schvetsov of Moscow’s Gogol Theater, Lord Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet” and Brabantio in “Othello” at John Basil’s American Globe Theater, “Richard 111” and “Peer Gynt" at Hartford Stage with Richard Thomas, “Richard 111” at the Kennedy Center and Stratford, Ct, “Miss Julie” in Copenhagen, Denmark, “Arsenic and Old Lace“ at the East Carolina Thtr in North Carolina, “Life Is a Dream” at the Rushmore Festival, numerous productions at Pan –Asian Rep, and his one-man show, Gogol’s “Diary of a Madman”, which he translated, adapted and starred in. Television work includes doctors and lawyers on “Law and Order”, and appearances on “The Equalizer” and “As the World Turns”. He has both directed and read plays at Food For Thought with Marian Seldes, Bob Dishy, Kathleen Chalfont, Tammy Grimes and Leila Robbins. His work as a director includes “Uncle Vanya” with Michael Moriarty, “Shakespeare Party” for Bond St Theater, and “Yuppie Shakespeare”. Peter was teaching assistant to Michael Moriarty, and is an acting, speech and accent correction coach. He has studied acting with Uta Hagen and trained in Shakespeare with John Barton and Patsy Rodenburg.
Equity approved showcase. (*) Designates members of AEA.