Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 18, 2013.

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Acclaimed director Aleksey Burago stages a delicious collection of short stories by Anton Chekhov at the historic Stanton Street Shul.

Aleksey Burago, Artistic Director
Aleksey Burago, Artistic Director

Creating Theater That Uplifts The Spirit

As The Russian Arts Theater & Studio prepares for a four-week run of the beloved short stories of Anton Chekhov, we face the exciting challenge of transforming a one-hundred year old synagogue into a Chekhovian world. Previously presented at sold-out theaters, critically acclaimed Russian director Aleksey Burago returns with his signature staging of Anton Chekhov, this time at the historic Stanton Street Shul. An aging actor wakes up alone inside a theater and begins to recollect the past, confusing memories with beautiful hallucinations. A dream play, this animated and unusual show includes hilarious stories such as Death of the Government Clerk, Fat and Thin, A Chorus Girl, Surgery, A Little Joke, Daughter of Albion, Confessions and many more. Featuring legendary Russian actor Ernst Zorin of the Vakhtangov Theater, and set designer Olia Rogova of the Moscow Art Theater, a stunning mix of visual images are created and featured on two different levels. Your tax-deductible contribution will help us secure the necessary materials for this ambitious project, as well as providing the funds for costumes and props. We need your support now more than ever! 

Project History

Following our Eurasian Invasion Festival, a four-week run of repertory theater at The Connelly Theater, RATS gained residency at The Stanton Street Shul, a historic, intimate, and vibrant Orthodox congregation serving the diverse Jewish population in the the Lower East Side. Originally built by immigrants from Eastern Europe, this tenement-style synagogue incorporated two existing structures dating to the 1840's. We are grateful to have this spiritual place as a temple, oasis and home for our company. 

The Stanton Street Shul
The Stanton Street Shul

A Dream Collaboration 

Soon afterwards, RATS was approached by legendary actor Ernst Zorin, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, Vakhtangov Theater. Having seen the visionary work of director Aleksey Burago, Zorin hoped to join hands on a project that would illuminate RUssian literature to American audiences from a perspective unseen before. This unique collaboration brings together two specialists of Anton Chekhov, both of whom have devoted many years in the theater to shed light on the works of this beloved writer. 

Ernst Zorin in the famed production of Turandot, directed by Y. Vakhtangov
Ernst Zorin in the famed production of Turandot, directed by Y. Vakhtangov

Chekhov As You've Never Seen Before

Previously performed to packed houses throughout New York City, Aleksey Burago's signature show brings you Chekhov as you've never seen before. Filled with innovative stagecraft, imagination and physical comedy, the house was filled with roaring laughter as characters hilariously fumbled their way through misunderstandings and awkward encounters. As Aleksey Burago says, "We make the kind of theater that we'd like to see, and it is the audience's laughter and the geniune connection that inspires us to push through difficulties and continue doing what we love---theater that nourishes the human spirit." 

Daughter of Albion, HB Ensemble Production
Daughter of Albion, HB Ensemble Production
A Chorus Girl, HB Ensemble Production
A Chorus Girl, HB Ensemble Production
A Happy Ending, HB Ensemble Production
A Happy Ending, HB Ensemble Production
Lady with a Lapdog, HB Ensemble Production
Lady with a Lapdog, HB Ensemble Production
Austin Pendleton, a supporter of our work
Austin Pendleton, a supporter of our work
The cast of Dr. Chekhov's Swan Song
The cast of Dr. Chekhov's Swan Song

The cast, crew, and volunteers of The Russian Arts Theater & Studio thanks you for your kindness, generosity and support of the arts!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

After our project is successfully funded, we face the immediate challenge of getting the word out effectively and ahead of time to ensure maximum turnout. Our goal this year is to increase new audiences by 20%, and this means launching an aggressive marketing campaign to raise visibility and awareness of our company. However, the dilemma lies in that due to the intimate nature of the synagogue, we are only able to seat 40 patrons at a time. As this presents a setback in our revenue, the marketing team will have to work harder than ever to publicize the event to ensure an extended run. In addition to collaborating with organizations such as The Russian American Cultural Center, we plan to work with online Russian social networks, as well as various arts and literature organizations throughout New York City.

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    TIPPER--A "Thank You" shout out on our Facebook page, and an acknowledgement in our newsletter.

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    GUEST--The above, plus a RATS Kitchen Magnet (a $5 dollar value).

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    FRIEND-_ The above, plus a CD featuring the soundtracks of our previous productions, composed and performed by award-winning pianist Di Zhu ( a $20 dollar value), a "Thank You" letter from the Managing DIrector, and a Program mention as Friend.

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    BUDDY--The above, plus a "Thank You" letter from Artistic Director Aleksey Burago, a box of Russian chocolates, and a program mention as Buddy.

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    INSIDER--The above, plus your choice of RATS item (a $25 value): one Poster, OR T-Shirt, OR Cap, OR Collector's Item Mug, OR Two Tickets to any available RATS Show of your choice, and program mention as Insider.

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    SUPPORTER--The above, plus a Backstage Pass, an Invitation for Two to Dress Rehearsal, an ensemble-signed RATS Poster, and your CHOICE of (a $50 value): Two Tickets to any available RATS show of your choice OR a DVD of RATS film version of Anton Chekhov's "Lady NN" (adapted and directed by Aleksey Burago); and program mention as Supporter.

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    BENEFACTOR--The above, plus a Signed Script of Dr. Chekhov's Swan Song + Other Prescriptions, and your CHOICE of any two items OR two of the same (a $100 combined value): Two additional Tickets to any available RATS show of your choice, OR a personal or business ad in program, OR an Artist Sketch signed original by Aleksey Burago, OR a free class in our upcoming summer workshops; and a program mention as Benefactor.

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    HERO--The above, plus a Lifetime Membership (2 free tickets per show), and invitation for two to our annual benefit gala (a $200 value), plus a musical gig by pianist Di Zhu, and a program mention as Hero.

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    ANGEL--The above, plus a private Chekhov performance at your next social event, a private dinner with the managing and artistic team of RATS, plus your choice of (a $350 value): Artwork by Aleksey Burago, OR New Musical Composition by Di Zhu, OR a pass to any of our future acting workshops, and a program mention as Angel.

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Funding period

- (30 days)