Posted on
Dec 23, 2016

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh guests at Good Morning America

Hello everyone! The Present promotion arrives on television, save the date!

Thursday, December 29 – Actors Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh (“The Present”); a performance by musician Lauren Daigle; the newest American Girl Doll revealed
The morning news program airs MONDAY-FRIDAY (7:00-9:00 a.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network.

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh for The New York Times
Posted on
Dec 21, 2016

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh for The New York Times

New interview and photoshoot for the New York Times. A printed version of this article will available on December 25. Enjoy!

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh, in Love and Battle
The Australian actors team up yet again onstage, this time in “The Present.” It can’t possibly end well, can it?

When Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh fall for each other, it rarely ends well. Dynasties crumple. Lives smash. Murder can follow. Or suicide. Sometimes both.

But these Australian actors, who have performed opposite each other for more than 20 years, seemed in rude health at a recent weekday brunch. On a break from rehearsals for “The Present,” an adaptation of an early Anton Chekhov play now in previews at the Barrymore Theater, they nestled in a corner booth at the Russian Samovar and listened to a waiter describe infused vodkas. “You cannot leave this place without trying many,” the waiter demanded.

“We have to do this,” Mr. Roxburgh said.

“We have to try this,” Ms. Blanchett concurred.

“Out of respect for Chekhov,” Mr. Roxburgh said.

Tipsy or sober, they do have a helpless reverence for Chekhov and a shared history with his plays. They played Nina and Trigorin in “The Seagull” in 1997 (dead child, wrecked life). They reunited as Yelena and Vanya for “Uncle Vanya” in 2010 (attempted murder, attempted suicide). Ben Brantley described this three-hour Sydney Theater Company production as “among the happiest of my theatergoing life.”

Continue reading the main story
They’re reuniting for “The Present,” a hectic and sometimes wrenching comedy directed by John Crowley (“Brooklyn,” “The Pillowman”). When it had its premiere in Sydney, The Daily Telegraph called it “blisteringly brilliant.”

Adapted by Andrew Upton, Ms. Blanchett’s husband, it is a bold and boldly comic rendering of Chekhov’s first full-length play, never performed in his lifetime and discovered in a safe deposit box in 1920, 16 years after his death. In its original form, the manuscript is an untitled, fragmented, 300-page muddle of a melodrama, most often called “Platonov.”

Mr. Upton has updated the action to 1990s Russia. “That shift out of communism, through perestroika and glasnost, and into the rise of the oligarchs — it’s such a lost opportunity,” he said by telephone. “For the world, but really for the Russians.”

She first saw him in a Dennis Potter play. He first saw her in a drama-school performance, playing Shakespeare’s Rosalind “with phenomenal poise and wit,” he said. Ms. Blanchett recalled their work on “Hamlet” fondly until, as she said, “you deliberately dislocated your knee so that you wouldn’t have to work with me anymore.”
“That’s sort of an outlandish version of events,” Mr. Roxburgh said. He still remembers the way she said, “My lord, I have remembrances of yours/That I have longed long to redeliver.”

Those remembrances, under Neil Armfield’s direction, included a monkey finger puppet, but for Mr. Roxburgh, that moment was “was deeply wounding and profound,” he said tenderly. “Every night.”

Are they the same actors they were then? Yes and no. Ms. Blanchett has never settled on any particular approach, though she did note that, “As a parent I’ve become a lot more economical.”

“That’s a great word,” Mr. Roxburgh said. “I don’t tie myself up in such knots anymore about trying to get something that is unattainable or ——”

“Perfect,” Ms. Blanchett said.

Both of them are busy with children and competing projects. Ms. Blanchett has three sons and a toddler daughter. Mr. Roxburgh has two sons and a daughter due in March. He has been occupied with his Australian television series, “Rake,” in which he plays an ethically challenged lawyer whose dissipation rivals Mikhail’s. (In Season 3, Ms. Blanchett had a cheeky cameo as his lesbian alter ego.)
She has several films on the go and is appearing at the Park Avenue Armory in the video installation “Manifesto,” in which she plays 12 characters declaiming on art and life. This is in stark contrast to Anna, who is given to wearied statements like: “I’m so bored. Bored and disappointed.”

But neither of them had any compunction about returning to Chekhov, first at the Sydney Theater Company and now again on Broadway through March 19. They spoke warmly about the richness of his characters and his writerly compassion for their follies and absurdities “They’re as slippery as we are as human beings.” Ms. Blanchett said. “They’re full of secrets and self-delusion.” Mr. Roxburgh agreed, though he cautioned that he had seen Chekhov plays that made him want “to put my eyes out.”

Both of them were excited to encounter a fresh version of a Chekhov play and Ms. Blanchett was struck by some of its contemporary resonances. The characters, she said, inhabit a political world in which “they’ve been lied to, they know they’ve been lied to, the people who are telling the lies know that they know, but everyone is pretending that the truth is being told.”

Both liked the play’s wildness. When Mr. Roxburgh read it, “I was so gobsmacked by the anarchy in the thing,” he said. Ms. Blanchett added that Mr. Upton “hasn’t kept the formal mess of the original manuscript, but he’s kept the emotional mess.”

If they were going to make a mess, they wanted to make it with each other, playing, as Mr. Roxburgh explained, “two people who are absolutely kindred, who know one another so intimately, but who can’t do anything with it.”

This sense of kindred spirits applies to the actors, too, as many of their colleagues insist. “They’re both prepared to look like idiots,” Mr. Upton said. “They’re very witty, and they’re very prepared to be foolish. They’re not frightened of a mistake.”

Mr. Crowley, the director, said: “What I’m always surprised by is how practical they are. But sitting around discussing scenes and the meaning of a moment, nothing interests them less. They really are hands on.”

Mr. Crowley also described their differences. Mr. Roxburgh is “almost like Cate’s anchor,” he said, a steadying force that lets her surrender to her instinct for clowning. And Ms. Blanchett is a goad to Mr. Roxburgh, a double-darer, who keeps things interesting. There are moments when they act together, Mr. Crowley said, “when I can see a smile crack across his face, when I can see his delight.”

You could glimpse that even in the middle of a draining technical rehearsal. Running a party scene, Mr. Roxburgh sat at one end of the table, his body stilled in melancholic repose, watching with obvious pleasure as Ms. Blanchett stomped and cackled and practiced the ways she might fire a shotgun she shouldered. You could glimpse something else, too, the electrochemical charge that crackles when they’re together.

A few hours later, as they sat in the theater a few seats apart, talking with Mr. Crowley on a break, I wondered if they’d ever fallen in love, before spouses and film deals lured them elsewhere.

“No, we never did,” Mr. Roxburgh said.

Mr. Crowley was glad they’d never been personally involved. “I can’t imagine you guys untangling the emotional mess of this play if there was any real baggage there — it would be too complicated,” he said.

Ms. Blanchett agreed. Then she turned her eyes to Mr. Roxburgh with all the love and trust and teasing care that two decades of collaboration bring. “Platonov says to Anna, ‘You are me.’ Well, when I look at you, I think, ‘That’s the actor I want to be.’”

Mr. Roxburgh, a man rarely at a loss for words, was struck dumb.

“I think she means that in a good way,” Mr. Crowley said.

Finally, Mr. Roxburgh collected himself. “It feels like I’ve had a whole sort of emotional life with you,” he said. “So many ups and downs and fights and longings across time. This parallel-universe marriage.”

via The New York Times

Posted on
Dec 14, 2016

Rush Policy Announced for Broadway’s The Present

Good morning! The Ethel Barrymore Theatre has announced the policy regarding previews tickets. Starting December 17th till January 8th, at the price of 45 dollars.

The Sydney Theatre Company production of The Present, which arrives on Broadway December 17 at the Barrymore Theatre, has announced its general rush policy.

Beginning with the first preview, a limited number of general rush tickets will be available when the box office opens at 10 AM the day of the performance (noon on Sundays) at $45 each. There is a limit of two tickets per person; subject to availability.

The Present, which will mark the Broadway debut of Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, will officially open January 8, 2017, at the Barrymore (243 W. 47th St.). Andrew Upton’s new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play, Platonov, will star Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh under the direction of John Crowley. The limited engagement will continue through March 19.

via Playbill

The Present – Cast Photocall
Posted on
Dec 9, 2016

The Present – Cast Photocall

Earlier today, Cate attended a photocall for the play “The Present” which is coming to Broadway.


Box Office Opens Today (October 29) for The Present
Posted on
Oct 29, 2016

Box Office Opens Today (October 29) for The Present

Good morning! For those who still haven’t bought a ticket, hurry up!

The box office of the Barrymore Theatre, located at 243 W. 47th Street, opens for business October 29 at 10 AM for the Sydney Theatre Company production of The Present, which will mark the Broadway debut of Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.

Tickets are also available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting Telecharge.com.

Andrew Upton’s new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play, Platonov, will star Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh under the direction of John Crowley. Previews are scheduled to begin December 17 prior to an official opening January 8, 2017, at the Barrymore. The limited engagement will continue through March 19.

The Sydney Theatre Company Australian cast includes Blanchett (Anna) and Roxburgh (Mikhail) with Anna Bamford (Maria), Andrew Buchanan (Osip), David Downer (Yegor), Eamon Farren (Kirrill), Martin Jacobs (Alexei), Brandon McClelland (Dimitri), Jacqueline McKenzie (Sophia), Marshall Napier (Ivan), Susan Prior (Sasha), Chris Ryan (Sergei), and Toby Schmitz (Nikolai).

Variously known as Platonov, Wild Honey, Fatherlessness, and The Disinherited, Chekhov’s first play was not discovered until 1920, some 16 years after the playwright’s death. Upton’s adaptation, according to press notes, is set “post-Perestroika in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna (Blanchett). At the center is the acerbic and witty Platonov (Roxburgh) with his wife, his former students and friends and their partners. They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fueled by twenty years of denial, regret and thwarted desire.”

The production will have set and costume design by Alice Babidge with lighting design by Nick Schlieper, and sound design and music by composer Stefan Gregory.

The Present is produced on Broadway by Stuart Thompson and Sydney Theatre Company.

via Playbill

Cate Blanchett on Ocean’s Eight, Thor: Ragnarok, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, playing Lucille Ball and her Broadway debut
Posted on
Oct 14, 2016

Cate Blanchett on Ocean’s Eight, Thor: Ragnarok, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, playing Lucille Ball and her Broadway debut

Hello everyone!

Cate Blanchett spoke to Entertainement Weekly about her new projects including Ocean’s Eight, Thor: Ragnarok and Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Enjoy the interview!

Cate Blanchett has recently had what she describes as a very low-key time in her life. “I took a big chunk of time off to be with my family — we adopted our little girl — and it’s been a lovely, quiet year,” she says. We’re guessing that’s going to change because Blanchett is about to become very, very busy indeed.

She recently arrived in New York City to begin work on Ocean’s Eight (alongside Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, and Awkwafina), and from there will go directly into her Broadway debut starring alongside Richard Roxburgh in The Present, directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn). And that’s all before she gets to work on Where’d You Go, Bernadette, adapted from the 2012 best-selling and beloved Maria Semple novel with Richard Linklater directing, or to get her chance to play the great Lucille Ball in an authorized film — produced by Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. — about Lucy and Desi Arnaz. Oh, and somewhere in there, she found time to shoot Thor: Ragnarok. We caught up with the two-time Oscar winner to discuss it all.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You are playing the bad guy in Thor, right?
CATE BLANCHETT: Yes, You get to a certain age and you don’t play the hero anymore. [Laughs] You play villains. Villains and drunks.

Co-star Mark Ruffalo has described your character, Hela, as “the worst of the worst.”
Did he say that? Well, he’s the greenest of the green! I didn’t get to work so much with Mark, unfortunately. But I did get to work with Chris [Hemsworth] and talk about delightful! He’s just absolutely fabulous. The whole thing was just a riot and fantastic fun. Did you see [director] Taika Waititi’s film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople? Or, What We Do in the Shadows? He’s just got such a sure hand. He’s wonderful — I’d eat him for breakfast if I could. He’s absolutely delicious. And he’s irreverent which is great because Marvel, at its best, has its tongue firmly in its cheek.

Chris Hemsworth is actually sort of a giant in person. It’s not just movie magic!
He is a big guy! But, you know, you get on the Avengers/Marvel bandwagon — they’re making so many of these behemoths at once — he doesn’t have any time to sort of get chubby. I do love Chris in these movies — he has that really playful side of him that he gets to truck out.

So you’re now in New York to start work on Ocean’s Eight, which we’re all very excited about.
I’m excited too. It’s going to be its own thing. [Producer] Steven Soderbergh will be all over it but [director] Gary Ross has been behind the scenes for all the previous ones and understands that universe. So this an interesting side step.

There’s not too much known about the plot of this film except that it involves a heist and the Met Gala. You’ve attended that gala in real life.
Yes, I chaired it with Nicolas Ghesquière and François-Henri Pinault in 2007. So I know it from that angle but this is an entirely different thing. It’s like giving a kid a camera on Christmas day and suddenly seeing things from their perspectives. The whole thing, the way it’s put together, it’s really smart and fun.

What can you tell us about your character?
Uh….I’m not sure. [Laughs] I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail but I play a long-time cohort. It feels fun. I must admit, I get excited about who is making it and who is in it, and then I want to be surprised by it.

It’s so great to have this powerhouse ensemble of women onscreen together.
Yes. There’s this really entrenched and lazy thinking that says there’s a certain demographic who watches films a certain way and that narratives have to reveal themselves — men should be at the core and women should be an objectified part of that process. It’s really deeply uncreative. It doesn’t produce anything interesting for men or women. It’s time to stop talking about these films as “female” projects, and just call them good and interesting projects, full stop.

And you basically go straight from filming into your play, The Present, right?
I think I finish on the Saturday and I’m in rehearsal on a Monday. [Laughs] We did this show last year in Sydney and we’re transferring it over here which is great. It’s from an almost broken fragment of a work of Chekhov’s that Andrew Upton [Blanchett’s husband] adapted.

It seems crazy that after all this time on stage, this is your Broadway debut.
We’ve come to New York a few times before — to BAM and Lincoln Center. It’s difficult because we were running the company [From 2008 to 2013, Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton were co-CEOs and artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company] and had children and schools so it wasn’t possible to do a long run. Now that we’ve left the company, it’s a much more achievable. It’s exciting. It’s a whole different audience. And I’m really happy that the entire original cast is coming. And John Crowley is directing! We’ve been trying to work with him ever since we came through the door — he directed Brooklyn, which is so utterly heartbreaking. He’s great.

And then next year you’ll start on Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
Yes! It is such a tricky book to adapt, and there’s this internal detached perspective — the way the narrative folds in on itself. But they’ve done a really great job with it. We’re going to go next year, I think.

And finally, I want to know what’s going on with the Lucy and Desi Arnaz project you are attached to.
Lucie Arnaz has been incredibly, unbelievably generous. We met a few years ago and started talking about this and now Aaron Sorkin is in advanced talks to adapt her mother and father’s story. It’s incredible. I mean, you want to talk about astonishing women who have made a lasting impact? You walk onto a film set and you’ve got the female bathrooms called “Lucy” and the male bathrooms called “Desi.” [Laughs] She was the first female studio head, for goodness sake, and a mother and she broke all the rules and changed comedy and was this incredible actress. And then you’ve got this amazing love story between these two people. He’s Cuban and he’s younger than her.

I don’t think I realized he was younger.
Of course, we won’t be casting anyone younger than me. [Laughs] But really, it’s so great and Lucie Arnaz has been so amazing to give us the authorized version of her story. It’s an incredible act of trust.

I take it that I Love Lucy made it to Australia?
Oh god, yes. I think she was watched around the globe. I’ve watched them all. But of course, it’s one thing to watch as a fan and then it’s another to think about how to delve in. There’s so much there and it’s so rich. But it’s a lot to try and think about inhabiting that genius!

So when do you think you’ll be able to get it going?
As soon as possible! I’ve read a lot of films — and made a few — that have ended up being biopics. In the end, this has to be so much more than that. The directorial vision of it will be absolutely vital. It’s terrifying. But like all good things, it’s equally terrifying and exciting.

via EW

New TV Spot for Broadway’s THE PRESENT, Starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh
Posted on
Sep 17, 2016

New TV Spot for Broadway’s THE PRESENT, Starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh

Hi everyone!

The site Broadway World released an exclusive tv spot for The Present, a Sydney Theatre Company’s production starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh. Previews begin December 17th . Watch the video below!

 

 

For tickets and more information about The present, visit www.thepresentbroadway.com

 

Source: Broadway World

‘The Present’ director John Crowley talks about Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett
Posted on
Sep 7, 2016

‘The Present’ director John Crowley talks about Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett

Hello everyone! For the very first time John Crowley, director of The Present, share his toughts about the working with the Uptons. Enjoy!

Sydney Theatre Company’s production of The Present, Upton’s bold update of an early, unfinished work by Anton Chekhov, directed by Crowley, with Australian stars Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh making their Broadway debuts, begins previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on December 17 for an opening on January 8, 2017.

Crowley’s commitment to do a project with Sydney Theatre Company dates back some eight years ago, when Cate Blanchett and husband Upton took over the reins as coartistic directors of the Australian company. “I suppose our real attraction to his work as a theater director is that it has a restraint and a delicacy, and yet it is strong and very clear,” says Upton of Crowley. “Most importantly, for Cate as an actor and me as a writer, he loves to land the punch.”

The Irish director was just finishing work on his Oscar-nominated movie, Brooklyn, when Upton asked if he had any interest in the adaptation of the Chekhov apprentice work known as Platonov. “You can do an adaptation of a work by a great writer and be very true to the writer, but it can have a degree of worthiness about it and be somewhat literary. Or, you can rip it apart, take it in a different direction, and not care about the original,” notes Crowley. “But it felt to me that Andrew was pulling off something which seemed impossible, which was to stay absolutely true to the spirit of Chekhov and totally updating it to the 1990s in a way that felt like he was creating something new. There was this fantastic, rich conversation between time periods.”

“It feels like a perfect meeting between two writers,” Crowley continues. “I think Andrew’s instinct to be bold and to update it also gave the play a freshness and an energy, and pointed out more political elements, which is about this generation that has not stepped up to its responsibilities in the country. So there is a cocktail that you often do get in Chekhov — this mixture of nostalgia and teasing, of regret and romance, a lot of drinking, and then a sudden argument, and then maybe some tears — all of those things are fully present and sit alongside each other in the most glorious kind of tapestry.”

“The other thing about the play is that it is extremely funny and witty; there is a whole sequence toward the end where it is almost pushing toward farce — there are a lot of people coming in and out of doors — except what is going on is far too real. I thought that the comedy was always pointing toward pain in a way that was thrilling.  As director, you go, ‘Oh, God! That is such a gift!’ And then, we weren’t starting with a shoddy pair, with Cate and Richard, either. Boy, can you work with that!”

What was it like working with Blanchett? “I would say she is restlessly playful,” offers the director. “I was surprised at how much of an instinctive clown there is in her. She’s completely nonintellectual in the play — and I say that because she is phenomenally bright. She’ll take any moment in a scene and try and prod it from dozens of different directions; oftentimes she’ll be extreme with something in order to try and open it up, or to open up a certain kind of moment with another actor. The quality of what goes on between her and another actor in the moment is everything to her, really. She is also unfailingly generous toward other actors on the stage and is very hard on herself. She is totally comfortable to be another member of the ensemble.” 

Directing Sydney Theatre Company for the first time, Crowley has high praise for the ensemble of actors in his production. “What is very special here is that Cate is working with a company she has worked with so many times — especially with Richard Roxburgh. The quality that you get in moments of their scenes together has a degree of history to it — I don’t know that you can direct that. So when a company like this is led by Cate and Richard, who are both almost uncomfortable being center stage, there is no shortage of great character actors around them on that stage. In the first act, and certainly in the fourth, when you have pretty much everybody on stage, there is a vibrancy and energy that come from a number of conflicting points of view on the stage simultaneously, which is really thrilling. It reminds you of when you see Russian companies who have worked on a play for years and years and years together; that much time working together, that much time knowing each other, that much time doing different things, you cannot short-circuit that process.” 

It may seem an unexpected choice for a Chekhov play from pre-revolutionary Russia, but for The Present, which is set in the post-perestroika world of the Russian oligarchs, Upton and Crowley have threaded the production with evocative music from the world of punk rock. “Andrew’s first draft referred to a couple of lyrics from a Garage track and a Joy Division track, so we looked at what the musical scene would have been when the characters were young, when Platonov would have been going to university,” Crowley explains. The playwright and director then settled on the music of The Clash, the English punk-rock band of the mid 1970s, to underscore the production.

“When they first came out, those Clash songs were quite punchy and raw and sort of threatening,” notes Upton. “But hearing them now, there is sweetness that time has put over. To me, that completely captures that sensation of Platonov being a really dangerous, charismatic young man who has sort of aged well, but has also lost a bit of his bite or something. Is it just that time has passed? There’s no explanation, but it is caught quite nicely in the music.”

via Broadway Direct