THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR

Adapted by JEFFREY HATCHER
From Revizor by NIKOLAI GOGOL

Directed by JESSE BERGER

A BENEFIT REUNION READING

LIVESTREAM Recording!

This livestream recording expired at 7:00 PM on Friday, June 19.

Make a tax-deductible donation today to support Red Bull and invest in the vitality of classical theater for a contemporary audience. We're committed to continuing connection during this exceptional time.  Your support will help make that possible.

We’re thrilled to reunite the fantastic company of artists that brought this play to life with our 2017 Off-Broadway production for a livestream benefit occasion. We want to engage you and our entire community with something stimulating and of genuine value. A finished performance? No. A unique way to experience some of the joy of our 2017 hit production of THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR? Yes. 

Our online projects cannot replace the live theater experience. There is simply no replacement for live theater. But through these efforts, we hope to keep our community together until we can gather once again to share in the singular Red Bull Theater experience. 

 

ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR

All politics are local. Gogol’s deeply silly satire of small-town corruption offers a riotous portrait of rampaging self-delusion. When the crooked leadership of a provincial village discovers that an undercover inspector is coming to root out their commonplace corruption, the town weaves a web of bribery, lies, and utter madness. Acclaimed playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation offers a hilarious reminder of the terrifying timelessness of bureaucracy and buffoonery.

This live online reading will feature the cast of Red Bull’s acclaimed 2017 Off-Broadway production: the inimitable Michael Urie (Grand Horizons, Torch Song, Buyer & Cellar, “Ugly Betty”) leads the all-star cast that includes Arnie Burton (Peter & the Starcatcher, 39 Steps), Stephen DeRosa (“Boardwalk Empire,” Into the Woods), Michael McGrath (Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Nice Work If You Can Get It and Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Spamalot), and Mary Testa (three Tony Award nominations, six Drama Desk nominations, Drama Desk Special Award for “consistently outstanding work”). They are joined by Ryan Garbayo, Kelly Hutchinson, David Manis, Ben Mehl, Talene Monahon, Luis Moreno, James Rana, Tom Alan Robbins, and Mary Lou Rosato. Each actor will zoom in from wherever they are social distancing, directed by Jesse Berger, with original music composed by Greg Pliska. Original set designer Alexis Distler and costume designer Tilly Grimes are providing some design elements. Stuart Howard has provided casting for all of the livestreams.

All of us at Red Bull Theater hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and staying as sane as possible during this difficult time. 

“The pleasures afforded by this giddy, breakneck show —including a DOOZY OF A CAST  led by the peerless, path-clearing cyclone of silliness called MICHAEL URIE — are as old as the days when cave dwellers discovered that human stupidity was really kind of funny.

CUE THE MAYHEM!”                     

Ben Brantley, THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

CAST

Michael Urie | Ivan Alexandreyevich Hlestakov

Arnie Burton | Osip, his servant, and The Postmaster

Michael McGrath | The Mayor of the town

Mary Testa | Anna Andreyevna, the Mayor’s wife

Talene Monahan | Marya Antonovna, their daughter 

Mary Lou Rosato | Grusha the maid, the Locksmith’s Wife, and The Waitress 

Tom Alan Robbins | The Judge, and Abdullin, a Merchant 

David Manis | The School Principal and Pentelaeyev, a Merchant 

Stephen DeRosa | The Hospital Director and Chernaeyev, a Merchant 

James Rana | The Doctor of the town

Luis Moreno | Svetsunov, the Police Chief, and an Imperial Messenger

Ryan Garbayo | Bobchinsky, a local landowner

Ben Mehl | Dobchinsky, a local landowner.

Kelly Hutchinson | The Corporal’s Widow and the Innkeeper’s Wife

Red Bull Theater wishes to express its gratitude to the Performers’ Unions: ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS, AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS, and SAG-AFTRA through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear in this program.
ABOUT THE PLAY

GOGOL ON WRITING THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR*

 

"The idea of a comedy has possessed me. ... Just the other day its subject began to take shape; I had already jotted down the tide in a blank thick notebook, The Vladimir Order, Third Class, and what fury, laughter, pungency! But I stopped short, realizing my pen had touched upon things the censor wouldn’t dream of passing. What is a play that won’t be performed? Drama lives only on the stage. An unperformed play is like a soul without a body. Would any craftsman exhibit an incomplete work? All I can do now is to concoct a subject so innocuous that it couldn’t offend even a policeman. But what is comedy without truth and fury! So I can’t attempt a comedy. But if I pick up my historical studies — before my eyes the stage comes alive, applause reverberates, faces jut from boxes and galleries, grins appear in the orchestra — and to hell with history."
From a letter to M. P. Pogodin, February 20, 1833


"Do me a favor; send me some subject, comical or not, but an authentically Russian anecdote. My hand is itching to write a comedy. ... Give me a subject and I’ll knock off a comedy in five acts — I promise, funnier than hell. For God’s sake, do it. My mind and stomach are both famished."
From a letter to Pushkin, October 7, 1835


"The reaction to [The Government Inspector] has been extensive and tumultuous. Everybody is against me. Respected officials, middle-aged men, scream that I hold nothing sacred in having had the effrontery to speak of officialdom as I did. The police are against me, the merchants are against me, the literati are against me. They rail at me and run off to the play; it’s impossible to get tickets for the fourth performance. If not for the intervention of the emperor, my play would never have remained on the stage, and yet there were people seeking to have it banned. Now I see what it means to be a writer of comedies. The faintest glimmer of truth-and entire classes are up in arms against you.The pitiful situation of the writer in our country is a melancholy sight. Everyone is against him, and there is no counterbalance whatsoever. “He’s an incendiary! A rebel!” And who is saying this? Government officials, experienced people who ought to have enough intelligence to see things in their true light, people who are considered to be educated and whom society or at least Russian society, calls educated. Crooks appeared on the stage and everyone is indignant: do you show us crooks? I can understand that the crooks are angry, but why those whom I never regarded as such? This uncultured petulance is very distressing to me; it is a sign of the profound, tenacious ignorance widespread in all classes of our society. … Whatever enlightened people would greet with loud laughter and sympathy provokes the acrimony of the ignorant, and this ignorance is widespread. Call a crook a crook, and they consider it an undermining of the state apparatus; show a true and living feature, and they translate it to read as a defamation of an entire class and an incitement of other or subordinate classes against it. Consider the plight of the poor author who nevertheless loves his country and his countrymen intensely."
From a letter to M. P. Pogodin, May 15, 1836

 

"The Government Inspector has been performed-and I have such a troubled and strange feeling. … My creation struck me as repellent, bizarre, and not at all mine... In general the public was satisfied. Half the audience even received the play sympathetically, while the other half, as usual, railed against it for reasons having nothing to do with art ...."
“Fragment of a Letter to a Man of Letters, Written by the Author shortly after the First Performance of The Government Inspector,” May 25, 1836


"All is disorganized within me. I see, for example, that somebody has stumbled; my imagination immediately grasps the situation and begins to develop it into the shape of most terrible apparitions which torture me so much that I cannot sleep and am losing all my strength.…in order to get rid of them [fits of melancholy] I invented the funniest things I could think of. I invented funny characters in the funniest situations imaginable."
Gogol retrospective comments on his work

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Nikolai Gogol was born on April Fool’s Day in 1809 in the Ukraine, then part of Russia. His classmates at school, observing his various physical and social peculiarities, nicknamed him ‘‘the mysterious dwarf.’’ In 1828, Gogol arrived in Saint Petersburg, obtaining a low-level, low-paying post in the government bureaucracy. After an equally unrewarding stint at a second government post, Gogol began teaching at a girl’s boarding school in 1831. Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, Gogol’s two-volume collection of stories, derived from Ukrainian folklore, was published in 1831 and 1832 and was instantly well received, gaining Gogol the attention of Aleksandr Pushkin, Russia’s leading literary figure, who provided him with the idea for the plot of The Government Inspector.  In 1834, Gogol began a position at Saint Petersburg University. Gogol quickly proved himself a resounding failure, and left this post after only one year. During that year, Gogol published two books of short stories, Mirgorod and Arabesques; a collection of essays; as well as two plays, Marriage and The Government Inspector. The Government Inspector was brought to the attention of the Tsar, who liked it so much that he requested the first theatrical production (1836).  Gogol, reacting to heavy criticism by the government officials his play lampooned, declared that ‘‘everyone is against me’’ and left Russia. He spent the next twelve years in self-imposed exile. After Pushkin died in 1837, Gogol inherited the mantle as the leading Russian writer of the day. Gogol’s literary masterpiece Dead Souls and the first edition of his collected works were published in 1842. In 1848, he returned to Russia, settling in Moscow. In 1852, Gogol died, age 42, as the result of an extreme religious fast and absurdly bad doctoring.

 

Jeffrey Hatcher’s Broadway credits include Never Gonna Dance (book). Off-Broadway credits include Three Viewings and A Picasso at Manhattan Theatre Club; Scotland Road and The Turn of the Screw at Primary Stages; Tuesdays with Morrie (with Mitch Albom) at the Minetta Lane; Murder by Poe, The Turn of the Screw, and The Spy at The Acting Company; and Neddy at American Place. Other credits include Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Mrs. Mannerly, Murderers, Mercy of a Storm, Smash, Korczak's Children, To Fool the Eye, Confederacy of Dunces, The Critic, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and others at The Guthrie, Old Globe, Yale Rep, The Geffen, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Arizona Theater Company, San Jose Rep, The Empty Space, Indiana Rep, Children’s Theater Company, History Theater, Madison Rep, Intiman, Illusion, Denver Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Rep, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Actors Theater of Louisville, Philadelphia Theater Company, Huntington, Shakespeare Theatre (D.C.), Asolo, City Theater, Studio Arena and dozens more in the U.S. and abroad. Film and television credits include Stage Beauty, Casanova, The Duchess, Mr. Holmes, and episodes of “Columbo” and "The Mentalist." Grants/awards: NEA, TCG, Lila Wallace Fund, Rosenthal New Play Prize, Frankel Award, Charles MacArthur Fellowship Award, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Barrymore Award Best New Play, and IVEY Award Best New Play. He is a member and/or alumnus of The Playwrights Center, the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild, and New Dramatists.

GOGOL ON WRITING THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR*

 

"The idea of a comedy has possessed me. ... Just the other day its subject began to take shape; I had already jotted down the tide in a blank thick notebook, The Vladimir Order, Third Class, and what fury, laughter, pungency! But I stopped short, realizing my pen had touched upon things the censor wouldn’t dream of passing. What is a play that won’t be performed? Drama lives only on the stage. An unperformed play is like a soul without a body. Would any craftsman exhibit an incomplete work? All I can do now is to concoct a subject so innocuous that it couldn’t offend even a policeman. But what is comedy without truth and fury! So I can’t attempt a comedy. But if I pick up my historical studies — before my eyes the stage comes alive, applause reverberates, faces jut from boxes and galleries, grins appear in the orchestra — and to hell with history."
From a letter to M. P. Pogodin, February 20, 1833


"Do me a favor; send me some subject, comical or not, but an authentically Russian anecdote. My hand is itching to write a comedy. ... Give me a subject and I’ll knock off a comedy in five acts — I promise, funnier than hell. For God’s sake, do it. My mind and stomach are both famished."
From a letter to Pushkin, October 7, 1835


"The reaction to [The Government Inspector] has been extensive and tumultuous. Everybody is against me. Respected officials, middle-aged men, scream that I hold nothing sacred in having had the effrontery to speak of officialdom as I did. The police are against me, the merchants are against me, the literati are against me. They rail at me and run off to the play; it’s impossible to get tickets for the fourth performance. If not for the intervention of the emperor, my play would never have remained on the stage, and yet there were people seeking to have it banned. Now I see what it means to be a writer of comedies. The faintest glimmer of truth-and entire classes are up in arms against you.The pitiful situation of the writer in our country is a melancholy sight. Everyone is against him, and there is no counterbalance whatsoever. “He’s an incendiary! A rebel!” And who is saying this? Government officials, experienced people who ought to have enough intelligence to see things in their true light, people who are considered to be educated and whom society or at least Russian society, calls educated. Crooks appeared on the stage and everyone is indignant: do you show us crooks? I can understand that the crooks are angry, but why those whom I never regarded as such? This uncultured petulance is very distressing to me; it is a sign of the profound, tenacious ignorance widespread in all classes of our society. … Whatever enlightened people would greet with loud laughter and sympathy provokes the acrimony of the ignorant, and this ignorance is widespread. Call a crook a crook, and they consider it an undermining of the state apparatus; show a true and living feature, and they translate it to read as a defamation of an entire class and an incitement of other or subordinate classes against it. Consider the plight of the poor author who nevertheless loves his country and his countrymen intensely."
From a letter to M. P. Pogodin, May 15, 1836

 

"The Government Inspector has been performed-and I have such a troubled and strange feeling. … My creation struck me as repellent, bizarre, and not at all mine... In general the public was satisfied. Half the audience even received the play sympathetically, while the other half, as usual, railed against it for reasons having nothing to do with art ...."
“Fragment of a Letter to a Man of Letters, Written by the Author shortly after the First Performance of The Government Inspector,” May 25, 1836


"All is disorganized within me. I see, for example, that somebody has stumbled; my imagination immediately grasps the situation and begins to develop it into the shape of most terrible apparitions which torture me so much that I cannot sleep and am losing all my strength.…in order to get rid of them [fits of melancholy] I invented the funniest things I could think of. I invented funny characters in the funniest situations imaginable."
Gogol retrospective comments on his work

 

 *Provided by the Guthrie Theater

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