Posted on
Jun 1, 2016

‘The Present’ to debut on Broadway this December – Tickets available from today

Brace yourself, Cate Blanchett is coming to Broadway!

Tickets for the critically acclaimed production of Sydney Theatre Company‘s The Present, Andrew Upton‘s new adaptation of Anton Chekhov‘s first play, Platonov, starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh, directed by John Crowley, go on sale exclusively to American Expresscard holders tomorrow, Wednesday, June 1. Audience Rewards members can buy tickets beginning June 8 and the on-sale date is Saturday, June 11 through or by calling 212-239-6200 or visiting

THE PRESENT will begin previews on Broadway Saturday, December 17, 2016 and open Sunday, January 8, 2017 at the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway and will play a limited engagement through Sunday, March 19, 2017.
via Broadway world

Posted on
Jan 28, 2016

Cate Blanchett to Make Broadway Debut in Play Directed by John Crowley

Cate Blanchett, one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation, will make her Broadway debut next season in a new adaptation of a lesser-known Chekhov play.

Ms. Blanchett will star as a Russian widow in “The Present,” which reimagines Chekhov’s untitled first play, often called “Platonov,” set in the 1990s. In the play a group of friends gathers at a country house outside Moscow to celebrate the 40th birthday of Ms. Blanchett’s character, Anna Petrovna. A Chekhovian tangle of vodka-fueled regret unspools, although in this version with considerably more humor than one might expect.

“It’s about life, basically, and the choices that a group of people make,” said the play’s director, John Crowley, who also directed the movie “Brooklyn,” which is a nominee for a best picture Oscar this year. Mr. Crowley, an Irish filmmaker and stage director, has directed three Broadway plays, “A Behanding in Spokane,” “A Steady Rain” and “The Pillowman.”

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“It’s also very, very, Chekhov, in a lot of ways truer to his spirit than a lot of period productions which rely heavily on a certain mood rather than actual drama,” Mr. Crowley said of “The Present.” “And it’s extremely witty.”

The dates of the production and a theater have not been announced but the producers, Stuart Thompson and the Sydney Theater Company, are aiming to begin performances late this year. Tickets will go on sale this summer; the run will be limited to 13 weeks, which is typical for a play featuring a movie star of Ms. Blanchett’s stature. (She has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including this year for “Carol,” and has won twice).

Although “The Present” will be Ms. Blanchett’s Broadway debut, she has wowed critics with previous star turns Off Broadway, including a 2014 production of “The Maids” at City Center, a 2012 production of “Uncle Vanya,” also at City Center, a 2009 production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and a 2006 production of “Hedda Gabler,” also at BAM. All four plays were productions of the Sydney Theater Company.

“The Present” was written by Andrew Upton, who is Ms. Blanchett’s husband and frequent collaborator; the play debuted last August at the Sydney Theater Company, where Mr. Upton was concluding his tenure as artistic director. Mr. Upton and Ms. Blanchett had previously served the theater as joint artistic directors.

The production will also star Richard Roxburgh, making his Broadway debut as Platonov. Ms. Blanchett and Mr. Roxburgh performed together in “Uncle Vanya,” which was also adapted by Mr. Upton.


Posted on
Dec 23, 2015

Cate Blanchett nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award

The nominations for the Sydney Theatre Awards were announced two days ago, and Cate is nominated for The Present. The winners will be revealed on January 18th, 2016.

Paula Arundell (The Bleeding Tree)
Cate Blanchett (The Present)
Jacqueline McKenzie (Orlando)
Eryn Jean Norvill (Suddenly Last Summer)


The play received three more nominations: Best Supporting Actress to Jacqueline McKenzie and Susan Prior, and Best Mainstage Production.



Posted on
Aug 15, 2015

The Present – Reviews, photoshoot, rehearsals and production stills

On August 4th, Cate Blanchett’s new play, The Present, made its debut in Sydney. Read below the entusiastic reviews, and have a look at the behind-the-scenes and on stage performance.

Cate Blanchett attacks her role, and the tenets of the text, with a forceful conviction that can only emerge from the extremely talented. The star’s undisguisable passion for her craft is a coherent match for the determination and fortitude of Anna, a woman coming very close to the end of her tether. Her portrayal of drunken and unhinged abandonment in Act Two is sheer theatrical delight, and a beautiful blend of studied precision with courageous impulse. Blanchett’s incredible allure keeps us spellbound, and she uses it to deliver the many thoughtful intentions of the play, which we absorb with enthusiastic acquiescence.

via Suzy Go See

The thirteen-strong cast here are all impressive, even if they are only in a few scenes; as the old adage goes, ‘there are no small parts, only small actors.’ Led by Richard Roxburgh as Mikhail (Platonov) and Cate Blanchett as Anna, the production shows just how interlinked this whole group of people are, how much they all depend upon each other for survival and well-being, and this is one (among many) of this production’s great strengths. Roxburgh’s usual almost-neurotic stage-presence is here toned down, and he has a number of quite poignant moments, more often than not with Blanchett’s Anna. Rather than an overbearing and self-centred character as he could very easily be, Roxburgh plays up the tragicomedy in the role, and comes to stand for every single one of the others, whether they know it or not, with their dashed dreams and shattered hopes. Blanchett’s Anna is a force to behold, blowing her way across the stage like a whirlwind, equal parts passion, compassion, tenderness, and untapped conviction; there are many beautiful moments to her performance, not least the end of Acts Two and Four.

via The Spell of Waking Hours

Cate Blanchett is luminous as Anna, twice thwarted in the love stakes, with a husband she loved dying and yearning for Mikhail unconsummated. Left with an estate she cannot manage she faces the prospect of a fiscally forced marriage to Yegor to continue the life she has grown accustomed to and Blanchett balances the strong, stoical sophisticate aspect of Anna with the reckless abandon of youth as youth abandons her.

via Australian Stage

With Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett earmarked for these roles from the off, who can blame him? Their chemistry is electrifying as ever. But The Present is a true ensemble piece, both in its expanded characters and the near perfect cast who bring them to life. Their constantly overlapping dialogue and emotional dance moves are masterfully choreographed by director John Crowley, particularly in the supper scene at the centre of this long day’s journey into the night.

Jacqueline Mackenzie is spot on as a do-gooding neurotic, Eamon Farren brings an air of menacing entitlement to his rich kid DJ type. But no one plays drunk quite like the Rox, his Rake persona turned up here to 11. No one else except Blanchett who moves from bored languor to free abandon and back again with total conviction.

via The Guardian

But his cast is all deft and intelligent when it comes to comedy and the crucial element of comic timing to land the most rewarding repartee. Roxburgh and Schmitz excel in casual insults, particularly, and Ryan captures a very Australian self-deprecating sad-sack vibe that’s immensely appealing, even in The Present‘s world of 1990s Russia. Susan Prior’s sweet, well-meaning awkwardness as Sasha was played for laughs but behind them, clearly, remained the warmest of intentions. Eamon Farren’s crass DJ Krill demanded laughs and received them easily; the entire cast, this large and unreasonably talented ensemble, chartered the rise and fall from laughter to anger to tears very well.

And then there was Roxburgh and Blanchett, sharing a single chair on a bare stage, wondering if there was ever going to be a golden time for them again, these tough, aloof ones who had learned to move above feelings rather than within them, and they captured perfectly between themselves the question at the heart of Upton’s script, a true Chekhovian question: how do we live in the present knowing what we’ve learned from the past, and realistically understanding that the future isn’t full of endless possibilities after all?

via Daily Review

Roxburgh delivers the best performance I’ve seen from him since Belvoir’s Toy Symphony, revelling in a role that requires him to demonstrate just about all the non-admirable qualities you can imagine fitting into one man. After a repressed start, Blanchett pulls out all the stops, unleashing Anna’s wild side in an orgiastic second act.

via The Sydney Morning Herald

Headlining a cast with Hollywood A-listers is inevitably a gift for drawing punters to a show, but Sydney audiences should also count themselves extremely blessed to have actors of the calibre of Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh willing to dedicate themselves to live theatre. Together Blanchett and Roxburgh’s rapport on stage, developed through years of working together at STC, is transfixing. Both navigate the rapidly changing narrative terrain, leaping from zinging comedy to gut-punching pathos, with astonishing athleticism, but this production is far more than just a two-hander. The Present thrives on the complexity of many intermingled lives and thus is a true ensemble effort. The 13 strong cast have worked hard, with director John Crowley, to weave in the nuances and imperfections of every day speech. People talk over each other, words are stuttered and tripped over: it creates a hugely absorbing sense of authenticity to the text that holds a mirror up to our own ways of communicating. The different personas in this complex web are all skillfully realised – particular praise must go to Jacqueline McKenzie’s Sophia, full of moral outrage and desperate frustration, and Martin Jacobs’ Alexei, groping for his youth but clinging pathetically to the past – however with stars that burn as brightly as Blanchett and Roxburgh, some of the performances from the less experienced cast members occassionally fall short of these stratospheric standards.

via Limelight

This immense empathy to the emotions on stage is only possible through the strength of an incredible cast – Blanchett’s Anna is incredibly captivating, her character is perhaps the most complex and unsettling on stage and this is brought out perfectly during the performance.

via The Au Review

Petrovna is a beloved widow surrounded by her admirers at this party. She is clearly a master manipulator, working to change the wants of her friends and associates, although they don’t always know it. Blanchett, as Petrovna, bubbles with enthusiasm and youthful energy in the beginning of the show, in an attempt to mask the fears that occasionally rise to the surface.

Petrovna’s party is occasionally so busy it’s hard to follow, but so is talk at every lunch party with an eclectic mix of old friends. The friends had a daunting, sprawling web of relationships that were hard to understand at first, and Upton’s script relies on the audience to decipher throwaway cues to map the web, but that work is largely rewarding.

As the first act progresses Petrovna can’t quite hide the dark intensity and instability lurking beneath the chatter.  Blanchett handles Petrovna’s seemingly uncontrollable emotional extremes well – a complex dichotomy of grace and power.

via Aussie Theatre

Roxburgh and Blanchett are superb, but allow everyone around them to shine, however many lines, however little stage time they have to play with. It’s very much an ensemble effort and all the richer for it. The Present is an exquisitely enjoyable outing to cherish.

via The Daily Telegraph

Promotional shoots (I have moved the images from the Photoshoots section)

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Production Stills via Suzy Go See

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Posted on
Jul 6, 2015

Sydney Theatre Company brings Chekhov into The Present

The Present will premiere in less than a month, have you bought a ticket? If not, you have one last chance on July 9th. More info here 

In the meantime, enjoy the first interview with the cast and a new photo in the gallery!

A week into rehearsals, Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh and Jacqueline McKenzie discuss The Present – Andrew Upton’s new adaptation of Chekhov’s Platonov.

Cate Blanchett is widely regarded as one of the finest stage actresses of her generation. We’ve been incredibly lucky to see her give unforgettable performances in a number of Sydney Theatre Company productions over the last few years including A Streetcar Named Desire, The Maids, Gross und Klein and Uncle Vanya.

But with the family relocating to the US when her husband Andrew Upton’s contract as artistic director of STC concludes at the end of this year (after eight years, five of them shared with Blanchett), the chances are we could be about to see her on a Sydney stage for the last time in a while.

Blanchett co-stars with Richard Roxburgh in The Present, adapted by Upton from Anton Chekhov’s sprawling first play Platonov. Directed by John Crowley, the production plays at the Roslyn Packer Theatre from August 4. The season is all but sold out but a final limited release of tickets will go on sale on Thursday July 9.

Blanchett and Roxburgh wowed audiences and critics alike when they performed together in Upton’s 2010 adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in Sydney, Washington and New York. As you’d expect, their reunion has made The Present one of the hottest tickets in the STC’s 2015 season.
Continue reading Sydney Theatre Company brings Chekhov into The Present