Economy Doesn’t Stop George Soros from Enjoying Chekhov, Ethan Hawke


credit: Joan Marcus

It’s nice to know that the meltdown of the world economy is not preventing George Soros from enjoying classic Russian theater. The international financier was just one of a surprising number of notables taking in Wednesday night’s opening of the Sam Mendes-directed The Cherry Orchard at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The Chekhov production–based on a new version of the play by Tom Stoppard–is the first offering from the Bridge Project, an Anglo-American collaboration between BAM and London’s Old Vic (which is currently headed up by Kevin Spacey). The spangly Cherry Orchard cast includes Simon Russell Beale, Rebecca Hall, Ethan Hawke, Josh Hamilton, Richard Easton, and a somewhat hammy Sinead Cusack, perhaps frustrated she’s not playing The Seagull‘s aging actress, Arkadina. (Keep a look out for our man Michael Feingold’s upcoming review.)

The evening was glitzy even by BAM standards. In addition to the cast (Rebecca Hall– so fetching in Vicky Cristina Barcelona!), the audience featured the even-prettier-in-real-life Kate Winslet (Mendes’s wife), last seen weeping a little too vigorously at the Golden Globes, as well as Mike Nichols, who we recently learned is actually German, born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, before Nazis with little taste for sketch comedy caused his family to flee the country. Glad to have you, Herr Peschkowsky!

The Bridge Project’s second effort, The Winter’s Tale, begins performances February 10, presumably not in a new Stoppard version. For info about either production, check out For Feingold’s take on Mendes’s other stage work, apply your clicker to the following links: on Mendes’s Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya, on Mendes’s Gypsy, and Mendes’s The Blue Room.