Barynya dancers at Carnegie Hall, NYC 2008
In December 2008 ensemble Barynya dancers Valentina Kvasova, Natalia Ejova, Olga Chpitalnaia, Natia Rtveliashvili, Dasha Paliy , Elena Yakubina performed a dance number "DEVOCHKI" in a musical "Mother Russia", Carnegie Hall, NYC. The story was about an American guy going to Russia. "Barynya" dancers were in the scene where his friends are afraid that he will be seduced by Russian girls and warning him to stay away from them.
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CARNEGIE HALL PERFORMANCE - DECEMBER 19, 2008
The talented Broadway and New York cast perform the music from this, the newest exciting musical to arrive in New York, accompanied by the Todd Sullivan Orchestra, Grammy award nominee and acclaimed Broadway musical director Phil Reno and six times Emmy Award winner, Lanny Meyers.
Three generations, one struggle, one story.
A grandmother (Ludmilla), ground down by years of poverty and repression (including the loss of her husband to the gulag) makes a stand against a regime her granddaughter (Jenya) continues to support through her work for the KGB. Her son (Slava), ever the survivor, peddles the sugar sweet propaganda of the Party as he runs the Moscow TV station. He has yet to face the treacherous reality of his past.
A KGB colonel (Tolya) – his mind firmly set on power and a relationship with Jenya – comes into conflict with an intrepid but naive American reporter (Steve) as his plan of using Jenya as bait to trap Steve backfires badly. Studio technicians (Misha, Luba) help Steve escape danger, again and again.
Can the gritty will of Ludmilla, and her babushka comrades, born of such hard lives, open the way of hope for a nation? Can love grow in desperate circumstances? Or is it just an illusion – another cruel twist in the enigma that is Russia?
Mother Russia is a musical to be launched in New York in the Spring of 2009.
Mother Russia addresses the timeless themes of heroism and hope, so often founded on the bonds of family and love.
The music of Mother Russia is in the tradition of great musical theatre. Rolling themes evocative of the vastness of Russia, stirring anthems supporting acts of great valour, touching ballads capturing both pain and love, all interspersed with driving rhythms to set your feet tapping.
COMPOSER AND LYRICIST ANDREW J. WIGHT
Andrew J. Wight is a practising English lawyer living in Moscow, Russia.
He plays piano, guitar and clarinet and has recorded his music with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and at Moscow Film Studios. He wrote the music for Mother Russia and another show ‘Tomorrowland’ which was performed in Moscow in 1999 and featured on BBC TV as well as Russian TV and radio networks. Two of Andrew’s songs appeared in the Sofia Festival of Top 100 Musicals of the 20th Century.
ARRANGER/PRODUCER TIM JANIS
Tim Janis is one of America’s most accomplished and beloved young composers. With over one million albums sold worldwide, four National Public TV Specials and 10 Billboard Charting CDs, composer Tim Janis has worked with some of the top artists in the music and entertainment business – from Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Ray Charles, to George Clooney and James Earl Jones. Tim marries his special sound arrangements with Andrew’s compositions to create a fresh new sound for Mother Russia. www.timjanis.com
BOOK AND LYRICIST WINSTON SHAW
Winston Shaw is a US diplomat who has worked in Former Soviet Union countries for two decades. He is the writer of the book for Mother Russia and co-wrote Tomorrowland. Prior works include screenplays and TV specials including the long running cable TV comedy, The Jiggle Show. His work has been reviewed in Variety. Winston is currently working with the top Ukrainan pop star, Mika Newton and has just achieved a top 10 Ukrainian hit with her.
DIRECTOR NICK CORLEY
Flight – “Nick Corley’s talented direction is simply gorgeous”
“An all round strong cast and equally strong direction by Nick Corley”
The Bomb-itty of Errors – “90 minutes of unadulterated, high octane entertainment… Director Nick Corley keeps a frantic pace for all” “…so cleverly directed by Nick Corley” www.nickcorley.com
CO-MUSICAL DIRECTOR PHIL RENO
Musical Director and Vocal Arranger The Drowsy Chaperone (five Tony awards). Nominated for a Grammy Award for cast album. Conducted Broadway production of The Producers (twelve Tony awards). Also on Broadway, Phil has conducted Thou Shalt Not (music and lyrics by Harry Connick, Jr.) and Cats and was musical director and on-stage pianist for Dame Edna: The Royal Tour and Back With A Vengeance. Since 2002 Phil has been the Musical Director and Conductor of the highly successful Broadway Under the Stars concerts in Central Park, televised by CBS.
CO-MUSICAL DIRECTOR LANNY MEYERS
Six times Emmy Award winner for television composition, including Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives, Berenstain Bears, ABC Afterschool Special, and ‘The Night of 100 Stars’ at Radio City. Winner of four Cine Golden Eagles for scoring animated films as well as six additional Emmy nominations, one Grammy nomination and one Clio nomination. Musical Director for numerous projects such as the 92nd Street Y annual gala, Wall to Wall Sondheim, and Thalia Follies at New York's Symphony Space.
ORCHESTRATOR TODD SULLIVAN
Professional experience includes a variety of on/off Broadway tours and shows, numerous orchestras, tours with Ray Charles and Ann Murray orchestras, leader of the 20-piece Todd Sullivan Orchestra.
TOLYA PETER SAMUEL
Broadway Appearances: Xanadu, The Light in the Piazza, The Producers, Marie Christine, Parade, King David, Cats, The Secret Garden, Les Miserables, Rags, The Three Musketeers, Joseph..., The First. Off-Broadway Appearances: Candide, Old Money, The Time of the Cuckoo, Dream True, The Human Comedy, Three Guys Naked from the Waist Down. Regional Appearances: South Pacific, Eliot Ness in Cleveland, Don’t Stop the Carnival, Fields of Ambrosia, The Return of Martin Guerre, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Jane Eyre. Television & Films: The Secret Lives of Dentists, Law & Order, SVU & CI, Late Show with David Letterman, Guiding Light, All My Children, Ryan’s Hope, The Doctors.
JENYA KATE SHINDLE
Broadway: Legally Blonde (Vivienne), Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Jekyll & Hyde (Lucy). NYC: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena), Sympathy Jones (Sympathy, NYMF Award), The Woman Upstairs (Kassan), and the World AIDS Day Concerts of Children of Eden (Yonah), Pippin (Leading Player), and The Secret Garden. Regional: After the Fall (Maggie) at The Alley, Himself and Nora (Nora Barnacle) at the Old Globe, Gypsy (Louise), Into the Woods (Witch), First Lady Suite, The Last Five Years, The Mousetrap. Film: Capote (Rose), The Stepford Wives (Beth Peters). Random crown-related celebrity: Miss America 1998.
STEVE KEVIN VORTMANN
New York Appearances: Face the Music, Juno, Stairway to Paradise, Applause! Show Boat, Children and Art. National Tour: Camelot. Regional Theatre: Once Upon a Mattress, Forever Plaid, South Pacific,
Les Miserables, Meet Me in St. Louis, Miss Saigon.
SLAVA NAT CHANDLER
Broadway Appearances: The Scarlett Pimpernel. National Tours: Camelot, Phantom of the Opera, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Into the Woods, The King and I, Carousel, The Merry Widow. New York Appearances: Counsellor at Law, The Ziegfeld Follies, Disgustingly Rich, Tales of Tinseltown, Anything You Say. Regional (Representative listing): Beauty and the Beast, Sweet Charity, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cabaret, Camelot, Carousel, Oklahoma, South Pacific.
LUDMILLA EVANGELIA KINGSLEY
Broadway and Regional Theatre: (Representative listing) Coram Boy, The Light in the Piazza, La Boheme, Sweeney Todd, Belissima, Anthony and Cleopatra, Much Ado About Nothing.
MISHA TODD HORMAN
On and Off Broadway and Regional Theatre: Face the Music, Of Thee I Sing, Dust and Dreams, Urinetown, the Musical, Les Miserables, The Full Monty, A Wonderful Life, Sweeney Todd, Carousel, 1776.
OLGA JANE BROCKMAN
On and Off Broadway and Regional Theatre: A Christmas Carol, The Light in the Piazza, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, Showboat, Camelot, A Tale of Two Cities, Carousel, Evita.
LUBA BETSY DILELLIO
National and Regional Theatre: The Light in the Piazza, The Baker’s Wife, Madly in Love, Oklahoma, Annie, Beehive.
New York Appearances: Hot and Sweet, Nellie, Esther Queen of Persia, Eli's Comin' to Broadway.
“Janice Martin is a stunning talent.” – The Miami Herald's James Roos
Newspapers around the world, including The New York Times and Washington Post, have described Janice Martin’s playing as “brilliant” and “splendid” where “perfection was never in question”.
Following Janice’s brilliant classical solo violin NY Carnegie Weill Hall Recital debut, Janice was chosen to be a recipient violinist of the Stradivari Society of Chicago to play the 1708 Burstein-Bagshawe Stradivarius Violin. Janice Martin’s concert career has taken her to major venues on four continents including Carnegie, Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls in NYC, the Rudolfinum in Prague, Suntory and Kioi Halls in Tokyo, to name a few.
The ensemble Barynya is a unique group of top soloists. Only the best Russian, Cossack and Ukrainian dancers and musicians can join the ensemble. Members of Barynya have performed with many world famous dance companies, for example: Moiseev Dance Company, Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company, Don Cossacks of Rostov Don, Andreev State symphonic balalaika orchestra, Moscow State Folk Center ‘Russian Song’, Ensemble of Black Sea Navy Dancers, Riverdance, ‘Beryozka’ Ballet from Moscow. www.barynya.com
Mother Russia is set at the time that the KGB tried to prevent the USSR (Soviet Union) from transitioning to a more liberal confederation of countries. This was the critical turning point for Soviet Communism.
Gorbachev (General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and head of state of the USSR) had embarked on an ambitious program of reform, most notably “perestroika” and “glasnost”, meaning economic/political restructuring and openness. Hardline Communists resisted these. The reforms also released nationalist agitation in certain parts of the USSR. In 1991, the USSR was in a severe economic and political crisis. There were shortages of almost all products, and people had to stand in long lines to buy even essential goods. Many parts of the USSR openly talked of signing a treaty that would effectively break up the Soviet Union.
Strangely, at the same time the KGB was trying to appear more ‘friendly’ and had even organized a Miss KGB contest (but in secret!) – announcing Katya Mayorova (posing whilst strapping on a bullet proof vest) on the front page of the newspaper Pravda under the headline “Miss KGB.”
More seriously, hardliners in the Soviet leadership led by Yanayev, calling themselves the ‘State Emergency Committee’, launched the August coup in 1991 in an attempt to remove Gorbachev from power. The conspirators hoped that Gorbachev could be forced to declare a state of emergency and to stop the slide towards break up of the Soviet Union. The KGB had Yeltsin (President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) and Gorbachev under close surveillance and realised that the two of them were considering approving radical changes in a new treaty. On August 4, 1991, Gorbachev went on holiday to his dacha. On August 18 all communications lines from the dacha (which were controlled by the KGB) were shut down. Gorbachev was placed under house arrest.
The conspirators (who became known as the “Gang of Eight”) ordered the manufacture of 250,000 pairs of handcuffs and also 300,000 arrest forms. All KGB personnel were called back from holiday and had their pay doubled. They then declared a state of emergency. All newspapers in Moscow were banned except for Communist-controlled newspapers. A “Declaration of the Soviet Leadership” by the Gang of Eight was broadcast by the state radio and television. Then radio and TV stations were cut off the air. Tanks and motorized infantry rolled into Moscow.
Boris Yeltsin arrived at the White House, Russia’s parliament building, and at 9 a.m. on August 19 he issued a declaration stating that a reactionary anti-constitutional coup was taking place. He implored the military not to take part in the coup. This declaration was distributed around Moscow in ‘flyer’ form. In the afternoon the citizens of Moscow began to gather around the White House and to erect barricades around it. The Gang of Eight declared at a press conference at 5 p.m. that Gorbachev was “resting.” The weak posture and trembling hands of Yanayev made his words very unconvincing.
A tank battalion declared its loyalty to Yeltsin. Yeltsin climbed on top of one of the tanks and addressed the crowd. Unexpectedly, this episode was broadcast by the state TV (it is believed this was made possible by TV technicians setting up an independent transmitter). An attack on the White House was imminent. The defenders of the White House prepared themselves. Some of them were armed but most of the volunteers were unarmed. The Gang of Eight ordered an attack on the White House by the KGB’s special forces with the support of paratroopers, three tank companies and a helicopter squadron. Motorized infantry was blocked in a tunnel by barricades made of trolleybuses and street cleaning machines erected by Yeltsin supporters. The leaders of the army got “cold feet” and refused to order the advance of the troops on the White House. The coup was over. Yeltsin now had the initiative. On August 22 the historical Russian white-blue-red national flag was adopted and the Soviet red flag was discarded. The end of the USSR was now assured.
Following the ‘try out’ public performances from Mother Russia in Moscow the audiences were
asked to comment; this is what they said:
“I was totally carried away by the music”
“The music is the best”
“A thoroughly enjoyable evening”
“Admiration for excellent work”
“I was genuinely moved by the music”
“The music was really perfect”
“A must for everyone”
“The music is fresh and exciting”
“The music is brilliant”
“Run, don’t walk to the ticket office”
Now try for yourself!!
Music and Lyrics © Wight & Shaw 1999-2008
All Rights Reserved
Public Performance Prohibited
Carnegie Hall - December 19, 2008, Natia Rtveliashvili photos.
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