Sydney Theatre Company will tour Andrew Upton’s ‘The Present’ to New York later this year.

Sydney Theatre Company continues to assert itself on a global scale. Following 2015’s critically acclaimed London presentation of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, starring Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh, STC has announced today that it is taking Andrew Upton’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play, The Present, to New York’s Broadway for a limited season.

The premiere season of the production, presented at Sydney’s Roslyn Packer Theatre last August, starred Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh and was one of the company’s biggest box offices success of 2015. It’s inspiration, Platonov by 19th-century Russian author Anton Chekhov, was given a wry comedic spin by Upton, pairing an accessible and distinctly Australian down-to-earth vernacular with Chekhov’s fascinating study of desire and regret.

Limelight’s online editor, Maxim Boon, said of the premiere season in Sydney, “Blanchett and Roxburgh’s rapport on stage, developed through years of working together at STC, is transfixing. Both navigate the rapidly changing narrative terrain of The Present, leaping from zinging comedy to gut-punching pathos, with astonishing athleticism.”

STC have presented Roxburgh and Blanchett on a New York stage before, touring the company’s powerful production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya to the City Centre four years ago, but this will be both actors’ debut on Broadway. This New York season will also be one of three final STC stagings involving Upton, previously Artistic Director of STC. Although he stepped down from the position at the end of last year and is succeeded by British director Jonathan Church, Upton’s adaptation of Feydeau’s A Flea in her Ear will be staged by STC this year and he also directs Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow for the Company. Upton’s co-adaptation of Genet’s The Maids will also have a West End run this year. Full details of the rest of the Broadway cast and the dates of the season will be announced later this year.

Read Andrew Upton’s exploration of his enduring obsession with Chekhov, published in the August 2015 issue of Limelight.

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