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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST NEW YORK NEWS

at the Duke of York's, New York

By David Lefkowitz

  (L. to R. ) Sinead Cusack and Brian Cox

Weeks after the closing of High Fidelity, news comes that another Broadway-bound show will posit rock music as a liberating force in people's lives. In Tom Stoppard 's Rock 'N' Roll, however, the power of rock is as political as it is social.

Expected in Fall 2007, Rock `n' Roll covers two decades of life in Czechoslovakia, from the Prague Spring of 1968 through the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and up to the country's first democratic elections a year later. Stoppard's play focuses on an idealistic college student and his Communist professor, who starts to reevaluate his acceptance of the status quo when Russia's tanks roll in.

Throughout the play, rock music - especially symbolized by the band, Plastic People of the Universe (a real-life, Zappa-inspired group that were hounded and even imprisoned, but, as such, became the catalyst for mass resistance and change) - serves as a symbol of populist freedom and rebellion.

Author Stoppard is on a big roll in New York, what with the kudos greeting all three chapters of his trilogy, The Coast of Utopia. Now playing in repertory at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater, Coast takes an epic yet philosophical look at Russia before the revolution.

Stoppard has also penned plays about colonial India Indian Ink and World War I-era Switzerland Travesties, as well as the acclaimed, England-set works, The Real Thing and Arcadia. Arguably, Stoppard's most famous play remains his first, 1967's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead , though he's also achieved prominence in movies for co-writing the screenplays for Shakespeare in Love and Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

Rock `n' Roll premiered last summer in a sold-out stint at London's Royal Court Theatre, followed by a run at the Duke of York's Theatre. Rufus Sewell, , Brian Cox and Sinead Cusack were the original stars, but no word on whether they will return for the Broadway version. Original director Trevor Nunn Cats, Nicholas Nickleby, is expected to do the New York honors.


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