jakub | March 28, 2024

Video: Playwright Peter Morgan and Director Rupert Goold on Why Broadway’s Patriots Is Both Urgent and Terrifying


Video: Playwright Peter Morgan and Director Rupert Goold on Why Broadway's Patriots Is Both Urgent and Terrifying

Previews begin April 1 for the new play, which recounts the story of Vladimir Putin's rise to power.

Patriots, a new play by Peter Morgan (The Crown) is approaching its limited 12-week engagement on Broadway. Previews will begin April 1 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre ahead of an April 22 opening night. Hear from Morgan as well as director and Tony nominee Rupert Goold (Ink) in the video above. 

Patriots recounts the story of Vladimir Putin's rise to power after the fall of the Soviet Union. Billionaire Boris Berezovsky supports Putin's political ascent until it threatens his own reign, sparking near-Shakespearean conflict between the two men. The work premiered in 2022 with a sold-out run at London's Almeida Theatre, where Goold serves as Artistic Director, before transferring to the Noël Coward Theatre for a West End engagement.

“I think the thing that makes the play so exciting and so potent is it looks at this inflection point, when Russia could've gone one way and went another,” Goold says. “In some ways it's an origin story, but in that superhero vernacular—you are looking at someone who is now a supervillain to the West, and looking at where he came from.”

Adds Morgan: “We're dealing now with [Putin], who has a very different take on reality. We're dealing with a full-flown tyrannical authoritarian figure.”

Original London cast member Will Keen is reprising his Olivier-winning performance as the tyrannical autocrat in question, Vladimir Putin, alongside Michael Stuhlbarg (The Pillowman) as Boris Berezovsky. The Broadway production will also feature Luke Thallon as Roman Abramovich, Stella Baker as Marina Litvinenko, Ronald Guttman (Coastal Disturbances) as Professor Perelman, and Alex Hurt (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Alexander Litvinenko.

According to Goold, “The play's energy comes from the tension between this very cloaked, fairly unknowable figure in Vladimir Putin, and this excessively out-facing, extraordinary, generous, corrupt, lascivious, intellectual, political, dynamic, visceral character that is Boris Berezovsky. [Berezovsky] is the heart of the play, who most audiences won't know about, but [he] is one of the great characters in history.”

The cast also includes Rosie Benton (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Stick Fly) as Berezovsky’s Mother, Jeff Biehl (Machinal) as Teacher and FSB Boss, Peter Bradbury (The Shark is Broken, Hangmen) as Voloshin and Nurse, Camila Canó-Flaviá (Network) as Tatiana and Nina Berezovsky, Marianna Gailus as Katya, Paul Kynman as Korzhakov and Yeltsin, Adam Poss as Lawyer and Home Office, and Nick Rehberger (Fiddler on the Roof, The Glass Menagerie) as Assistant and Kahneman.

Understudies for the production will include Benjamin Bonenfant, Danielle Chaves, Joe Forbrich, and Tony Ward (The Audience, Twelfth Night/Richard III).

“Normally when you write a play about current events, you fear that the story could become inaccurate, [or] outdated, but that’s not been the case,” Morgan says. “If anything, it’s become more urgent, more important, more terrifying, and more vital that we address it…These are totemic characters, battling both ideologically and for their lives. The canvas is a properly big, grand canvas, and yet the battle as individuals is a battle of friendship and betrayal, which are themes that all of us can take into our own lives.”

The Patriots creative team also includes set designer Miriam Buether, co-costume designers Deborah Andrews and Miriam Buether, lighting designer Jack Knowles, sound designer and composer Adam Cork, movement director Polly Bennett, and projection designer Ash J Woodward. Casting is by Jim Carnahan. TT Partners is the production's general manager.

The producing team includes Netflix, Sonia Friedman Productions, Nederlander Presentations, Richard Winkler, Stephanie P. McClelland, Ted Snowdon, Jamie deRoy/Ken Greiner, and Richard Batchelder.

Visit PatriotsBroadway.com. See photos from the West End run below.


Photos: Production Images of Patriots in the West End

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