Set in 1948 on a spring weekend in Westport, CT, Nikolai and the Others tells the story of a close-knit group of Russian emigres who gather to eat, drink and talk. Over the course of the weekend, Nelson reimagines the creation of Balanchine and Stravinsky’s historic collaboration, the ballet Orpheus, and explores the interesting and controversial ways American art was funded at the outset of the Cold War.
But Nelson’s opening gambit — an appetizer of red herring — pays off spectacularly in an engrossing work that transports Chekhov to the threshold of the Cold War. For a play that questions the cost of art, the production is fully up to LCT’s luxurious standards. The large cast is strong, top to bottom, with standout work not only from Cerveris and Glover but from Blair Brown as Vera Stravinsky, Stephen Kunken as the conflicted Nicky, and Alvin Epstein as the failing Sudeikin. Jane Greenwood’s costumes do a novel’s worth of work in a few bolts of fabric. And the ‘Orpheus’ excerpts, staged by New York City Ballet’s Rosemary Dunleavy, manage the trick of seeming both classically complete and yet also the result of artists making art on the spot.Review by Jesse Green from New York Magazine
David Cromer’s exemplary production soaks in the ambience with such convincing detail, and features so many earnest and tender performances, that 'Nikolai and the Others' succeeds as a compassionate, Chekhovian character study.Review by Matt Windman from AM NY