Anna Karenina (musical)
|Basis||Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina|
Anna Karenina is a musical with a book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg and music by Daniel Levine. Based on the classic Leo Tolstoy novel of the same name, it focuses on the tragic title character, a fashionable but unhappily married woman, and her ill-fated liaison with Count Vronsky, which ultimately leads to her downfall. Directed by Theodore Mann, the Broadway production opened on August 26, 1992 at the Circle in the Square Theatre and ran for 46 performances. The cast included Ann Crumb in the title role and John Cunningham as Nicolai Karenin.
In 1870s Russia, Anna Karenina is a virtuous woman married to a government official 15 years older than she. Anna falls in love with the handsome and charming Count Alexis Vronsky, but she is torn by her loyalty to her husband and small son.
Meanwhile, Vronsky had first courted Ekaterina "Kitty" Alexandrovna Shcherbatsky, who chose him over gentleman farmer Konstantin Dmitrievich Levin. When Vronsky falls in love with Anna instead, Kitty becomes ill, and Vronsky, heartsick, withdraws to his country estate. Kitty and Levin finally declare their love for each other.
Anna's choice of love over duty leads to tragedy: Her affair with Vronsky is revealed, and she is shunned; eventually, she throws herself in front of an oncoming train.
After eighteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by Theodore Mann and choreographed by Patricia Birch, opened on August 26, 1992 at the Circle in the Square Theatre. In keeping with the theatre's small size (by Broadway standards), the staging included a sparse set, an almost bare stage, and only seven members in the orchestra. In addition to Crumb and Cunningham, the cast included Scott Wentworth as Vronsky, Gregg Edelman as Constantin Levin, Melissa Errico as Princess Kitty Scherbatssky, and Jerry Lanning as Prince Oblonsky.
Anna Karenina was received poorly by the critics. Time deemed it "earnest, intermittently moving but never quite thrilling," while the New York Times was harsher, calling the show a "series of misperceptions and errors in judgment." Other critics believed the musical's approach to be trivial, including Variety, which declared the musical "comic-strip Tolstoy".
The musical ran for only 46 performances. It received Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical (Ann Crumb), Best Book of a Musical, Best Score of a Musical, and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Gregg Edelman), as well as a Drama Desk Award nomination for Lanning.
A recording of the musical released on August 7, 2007 stars Melissa Errico as Anna, Gregg Edelman as Levin, Brian d'Arcy James as Vronsky, Jeff McCarthy as Karenin, Marc Kudisch as Oblonsky and Kerry Butler as Kitty.
In 2006, a Japanese version of the Dan Levine, Peter Kellogg musical was produced and performed in Japan. The original Japan cast included Maki Ichiro, Yoshio Inoue, Hitomi Harukaze. A 2-DVD-Set with a length of more than 3 hours of the Japanese language production is available. There is also a cd of the songs sung in Japanese available.
- Henry, William A. A Big Epic Writ Small, Time Magazine, September 7, 1992. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
- Gussow, Mel. Tolstoy, Revised and Musicalized, The New York Times, August 27, 1992. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
- Gerard, Jeremy. Anna Karenina, Variety Magazine, August 28, 1992. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
- Evans, Greg. Tony bids: 'Tommy,' 'Kiss' 11; 'Angels' 9, Variety Magazine, May 11, 1993. Retrieved September 5, 2007.