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A 3-day, 6-theater marathon of Leo Tolstoy’s adaptations on stage lays path to a broader international festival with an open invitation to bring to Russia a “War and Peace” themed musical, which premiers on Broadway this fall.

YASNAYA POLYANA, RUSSIA – 24 Sep, 2016 – The Tolstoy Weekend festival at the writer’s house-museum Yasnaya Polyana featured not only best modern interpretations of famous Leo Tolstoy’s novels but also an international panel of experts headlined by composer Dave Malloy (USA) who wrote the music and lyrics for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, a new Broadway show that premiers on November 14, 2016.

“This has been a magical weekend, communing with Tolstoy’s spirit, and feeling so welcomed by all the wonderful people, artists, and scholars who gathered at Yasnaya Polyana to celebrate. I hope I can bring some of this warm, loving, Russian feeling back to my company as we start rehearsal for our show and hope that we can bring Great Comet to Russia someday as well!” – said Malloy at the conclusion of the festival.

The organizers announced that the festival will now become an annual event and that they hope to see Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 on stage there next year.

The list of theaters that brought their performances to Yasnaya Polyana includes the Mayakovsky Theatre, the Nikitsky Gate Theater (“U Nikitskih Vorot”) , the Creative Association of Golomazov’s Workshops, Tolstoy Academic Drama Theater (Lipetsk), Chekhov Moscow Art Theater and the Meyerhold Center. 

Each of the performances demonstrated an original interpretation of Tolstoy’s works.  The Creative Association of Golomazov’s Workshops showed War and Peace through the eyes of a minor character in Princess Marya.  Leo Tolstoy Lipetsk Drama Theater put on The Death of Ivan Ilych with a twist – the modern-day play had a new character called ‘It’, which represented Death.  Russian Romance attempted to recreate the atmosphere of musical salons of the 19th century.

“We could not have found a better place for this festival.  This is a landmark for all Russian culture, which carries the spirit of Leo Tolstoy and his times.  I really hope that Tolstoy Weekend will become a good tradition for Tula Region,” said Aleksei Dumin, the governor of Tula Region.

All the proceeds from the sold-out festival will be used to upgrade the Tolstoy’s estate, the organizers said.  They hope that next year the highly anticipated involvement from Broadway can bring even more international attention to the festival from theater-goers who love Tolstoy.

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