Immerse yourself in the world of The Cherry Orchard, with our recommended reading, watching, listening and doing lists.
Anton Chekhov: A Life
by Donald Rayfield
The Cherry Orchard premiered only six months before Anton Chekhov’s tragic death at the age of 44. From a young age growing up in Taganrog, his life was plagued with familial and financial hardship. After arriving in Moscow in 1879 to study medicine, Chekhov began to write. As an author of nearly six hundred stories, he wrote his first full length play in 1887 and did not stop until his death. Chekhov’s plays focused on everyday life and profoundly altered the trajectory of modern drama. According to Michael Frayn, Donald Rayfield’s Anton Chekhov: A Life is “without question the definitive biography of Chekhov” and provides invaluable insight into the life of one of history’s greatest playwrights.
by Stephen Karam
The Humans by Stephen Karam opened to critical acclaim Off-Broadway at Roundabout in the fall of 2015, heralded by Charles Isherwood as “the best play of the year”. In The Humans, the Blake family has travelled to New York City for Thanksgiving dinner at their daughter’s Chinatown apartment. Balancing hilarity and heartbreak, Karam’s play exposes their secrets, desires, and ultimately, their deepest human fears. Like Chekhov, Karam’s plays champion ordinary people, making him a clear choice for the adaptor of Roundabout Theatre Company’s The Cherry Orchard.
Screenplay adaptation by Stephen Karam
Stephen Karam’s film adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull is slated to be released in 2017. As Chekhov’s first major play, The Seagull is known for its infamous opening night (Chekhov himself could not watch), but eventually became known as one of his greatest theatrical triumphs. He introduced many themes that he continued to explore throughout his career, including entangled romances, the examination of art, and the everyman’s dissatisfaction with life. The film is directed by Michael Mayer and stars Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Corey Stoll, and Annette Bening.
The original music for Roundabout’s The Cherry Orchard is composed by Nico Muhly, whose works range from orchestral and choral pieces to major motion picture soundtracks, opera, solo albums, and Broadway. Muhly’s music functions practically in the play during the party in Act III, but it is the incidental music he has composed that is most affecting, especially the melody that emerges reminding Ranevskaya of her late son, Grisha.
Hear more original works by Nico Muhly…
“Motion” By Nico Muhly
“Drones in Large Circles” By Nico Muhly
Links to purchase his music can be found here.
As Madame Ranevskaya states in The Cherry Orchard, “in this part of the country, if there’s anything of interest, or even noteworthy, it’s our cherry orchard.” Luckily, you do not have to travel all the way to Russia, or even out of New York City to see the natural wonder she describes. Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s “Cherrywatch” will keep you up to date when the trees begin to bloom in the spring of 2017. Visit their website to learn the best time to visit.
The Cherry Orchard is now playing at the American Airlines Theatre. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.
2015-2016 Season, The Cherry Orchard