|A musical fantasia set in the hypnotized mind of Sergei Rachmaninoff|
|Productions||2015 Off-Broadway |
2018 Richmond, Virginia
2019 Off West End
Preludes is a musical fantasia set in the mind of Sergei Rachmaninoff, written and composed by Dave Malloy. The music is a combination of compositions by Rachmaninoff, Malloy, hybrids of the two, as well as music and lyrics from other related compositions.
After the disastrous premiere of his first symphony, the young Rachmaninoff suffers from writer’s block. He begins daily sessions with a therapeutic hypnotist, in an effort to overcome depression and return to composing.
Music and lyrics by Dave Malloy except where noted.
†Not included on the Original Cast Recording
§ Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Principal roles and cast members
|Character||Off-Broadway (2015)||Off West End (2019)|
|Rach||Gabriel Ebert||Keith Ramsay|
|Rachmaninoff||Or Matias||Tom Noyes|
|Dahl||Eisa Davis||Rebecca Caine|
|Natalya||Nikki M. James||Georgia Louise|
|Chaliapin||Joseph Keckler||Norton James|
|Chekhov / Tchaikovsky / Tolstoy /
Glazunov / Tsar Nicholas II / The Master
|Chris Sarandon||Steven Serlin|
The piece premiered Off-Broadway in June 2015 at Lincoln Center Theater 3. The production team was helmed by Rachel Chavkin as director, Or Matias as music director, Bradley King as lighting designer, Mimi Lien as set designer, and Paloma Young as costume designer, all of whom had already collaborated with Malloy on Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
In January 2017, the show made its European and German-language premiere at the Landestheater Linz, Austria. It was directed by Johannes von Matuschka and music directed by Billy Christopher Maupin.
In 2018, Preludes was performed at Richmond, Virginia's Firehouse Theatre from May 23 to June 30. It was directed by Billy Christopher Maupin and music directed by Susan Randolph Braden. The production team also featured Emily Dandridge as Choreographer, Tennesse Dixon as set and projection designer, Christian DeAngelis as lighting designer, Leslie Cook-Day as costume designer, and Ryan Dygert as sound designer.
Preludes premiered Off West End at the Southwark Playhouse on September 6, 2019 in a limited run until October 12. The creative team will be lead by Alex Sutton as director and Jordan Li-Smith as music director, along with Christopher Nairne as lighting designer, Rebecca Brower as costume designer, Andrew Johnson as sound designer, Ste Clough as choreographer, Daisy On as stage manager.
The piece was well received by the New York press; Ben Brantley in the New York Times wrote “Writer’s block turns out to be a lot more inspiring than you could ever have imagine—and sad and stirring and gloriously fun. In Preludes, Dave Malloy makes beautiful music out of a composer’s three years of creative silence…the best musical about art’s agonies since Georges Seurat wielded a twitchy paintbrush in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park With George. Mr. Malloy...incorporates wildly diverse sources—classical, folk, electro-pop—into a form that exists defiantly beyond the quotation marks of postmodernism. He’s that rarity, a smart sentimentalist whose self-consciousness about his feelings in no way dilutes them...Along with Fun Home and the soaring, Broadway-bound Hamilton, this smashing production says that the American musical is not only not dead but also growing luxuriantly in places you never expected."”
Awards and nominations
|2016||Lucille Lortel Award||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical||Gabriel Ebert||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Or Matias||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Eisa Davis||Nominated|
|2018||Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Award||Best Musical||Preludes||Nominated|
|Best Director of a Musical||Billy Christopher Maupin||Won|
|Best Music Direction||Susan Braden||Won|
|Best Choreography||Emily Berg-Poff Dandridge||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Musical||PJ Freebourn||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Musical||Travis West||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design - Musical||Ryan Dygert||Nominated|
|Best Set Design - Musical||Tennessee Dixon||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design- Musical||Leslie Cook-Day||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design- Musical||Christian Detres||Nominated|
A cast album of the original Lincoln Center production was released on January 19, 2016 by Ghostlight Records.
- "Preludes". Composer's website. New York.
- "Preludes". Lincoln Center 3 website. New York.
- [Preludes program, Lincoln Center Theater 3, June 2015]
- Show Details , Landestheater Linz
- Bowie-Sell, Daisy (June 27, 2019). "Preludes by Dave Malloy UK premiere to run at Southwark Playhouse". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- Brantley, Ben. , New York Times, June 15, 2015