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The Cherry Orchard

Written by Anton Chekhov
Translated by Paul Schmidt

Department of Theatre & Drama
April 4 – 14, 2024 • The Arthur Miller Theatre

Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard is considered one of the great classic works of Russian theatre, having been translated into countless languages and produced all over the world. Some of the greatest American playwrights – such as Arthur Miller, David Mamet, and Eugene O’Neill – were directly influenced by Chekhov.

After a prolonged absence following the death of her son, noblewoman Lyobov Ranevskaya returns to her estate and finds the cherry orchard on the estate in full bloom. Despite this outward sign of prosperity, her home is on the verge of financial ruin. Along with her brother, Gaev, Lyobov struggles to maintain the façade of gentility as their world crumbles around them.

FUN FACTS: Is The Cherry Orchard a comedy or a tragedy? It depends on who you ask. According to, “The original intention of Chekhov was for The Cherry Orchard to be a comedy; yet, [Constantin] Stanislavsky [famous actor/director and creator of the eponymous Stanislavsky method, known as ‘method acting’] turned it into a tragedy.” Russian literature scholar Svetlana Evdokimova quotes Stanislavsky as saying, “‘This is not a comedy, not a farce, as you wrote; it is a tragedy, whatever outlet for a better life you may have offered in the last act… I hear you saying: “Wait a minute, but this is a farce…” No, for an ordinary person this is a tragedy.’” Yet this conflict is what makes The Cherry Orchard such good theatre. As Evdokimova says, “Clearly, the source of the comic lies not in the play’s fabula or situation, not in what happens, but in how it happens and to whom it happens. The enigmatic, captivating, and almost mesmerising effect that The Cherry Orchard continues to exert on its audience is to be found in its good-humoured but foolish protagonists – both charming in their gullibility and pathetic in their utter confusion.”

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Creative Team

Daniel Cantor

Assistant Director
Stuart Sheffield

Choreography and Movement
Drey’von Simmons

Scenic Designer
Karalyn Hood

Costume Designer
Jess Fialko

Lighting Designer
Joseph Walls

Co-Sound Designers
Henry Reynolds, Surya Shultes

Karin Waidley

Resident Intimacy Choreographer and Cultural Consultant
Raja Benz

Hair and Makeup Designer
Brittany Crinson

Voice & Speech Coach
Jeremy Sortore

Music & Live Sound Coordination
Hayden Steiner

Production Stage Manager
Esmay Pricejones

Assistants to the Creative Team

Assistant Lighting Designer
Ethan Hoffman

Assistant Dramaturgs
Rory Hunt, Elizabeth Nigg

Assistant Costume Designer
Ellie Van Engen

Assistant Voice & Speech Coach

Mary-Kate Sunshine Mahaney


Luibóv Andréyevna Ranyévska, who owns the estate
Kaylin Gines

Ánya, her daughter, 17 years old
Ella Saliba

Várya, her adopted daughter, 24 years old
Kaila Pelton-Flavin

Leoníd Andréyich Gáyev, Luibóv’s brother
Jalen Steudle

Yermolái Alexéyich Lopákhin, a businessman
Lenin Izquierdo

Pétya Trofímov, a graduate student
Rohan Amar Maletira

Borís Semyónov-Pischik, who owns land in the neighborhood
Lewis C. Jackson III

Carlotta, the governess
Drake Fengye Zhao

Semyón Yepikhódov, an accountant
Ethan Steiner

Dunyásha, the maid
CC Meade

Firs, The Butler, 87 years old
Sam Hopkins

Yásha, the valet
Zack Gergel

A Homeless Man
Hayden Steiner

The Stationmaster
Theresa Dvorocsik

The Postmaster
Raymond Ocasio

Hayden Steiner, Theresa Dvorocsik, Raymond Ocasio, Tomilade Akinyelu, Lilly Geer, Maya Guacci (understudy)

Professional Clarinet Performance
Don Henig

Production Crew

1st ASMs  Josie Ervin, Evan Kiel

2nd ASMs  Brooke Galsky, Maggie Meredith, Lindsay Robert, Ceri Roberts

Lead Carpenter and Assistant to the Technical Director Dallas Fadul, Tal Lev

Shop Crews

Theatrical Lighting Shira Baker, Abi Farnsworth, Sydney Geysbeek, Ethan Hoffman, Elianna Kruskal, Brandon Malin, Megan Mondek, Christian Mulville, Gabriela Ribeiro Znamensky, Kathleen Stanton-Sharpless, William Webster, Andrew Wilson, Miles Zoellick & Theatre 250/252/262 students

Painting  Gilayah McIntosh, Ceri Roberts, Martha Sprout, Seri Stewart^, Lauren Streng, Ellie Vice^, Amber Walters, Angela Wu & Theatre 250/252/262 students

Props  Eliza Anker, Andy Blatt, Aquila Ewald, Dallas Fadul, Audrey Hollenbaugh, Lucy Knas, Tessie Morales, Audrey Tieman, Banks Krause  & Theatre 250/252/262 students

Scenery  Marium Asghar, Miles Hionis, Hannah Kryzhan, Michael Russell, Sophia Severance, Lauren Streng, Eliza Vassalo, Nathaniel Steever, Robert Beckemeyer, Rachel Pfeil, Sydney Geysbeek & Theatre 250/252/262 students

Costumes  Sammer Ali, Katy Dawson, Maya Liu, Aspen Kinomoto, Esmay Pricejones, Kayti Sanchez, Ellie Van Engen, Maddie Vassalo, Summer Wasung, Emily Weddle & Theatre 250/252/262 students

Production Office  Justin Comini, Shelby Holloway, Esther Hwang

Videographer Schelsea Jones

Running Crew

Light Board Operator  Cortez Hill

Sound Operator  Benjamin Isyk

Deck Crew Abigail Dziedzic, Wesley Wray, Anderson Zoll

Wardrobe Crew  Donovan Rogers, Aaron Syi, Summer Wasung^

Hair & Makeup Crew Ella Thomas-Montgomery

^=Crew Head

Design & Production Faculty Advisors

Head of Design & Production  Christianne Myers

Stage Management  Nancy Uffner

Scenic Design  Jungah Han, Kevin Judge

Costume Design  Christianne Myers, Sarah M. Oliver

Lighting Design  Jess Fialko

Sound Design  Henry Reynolds

Staff Mentors

Laura Brinker, Brittany Crinson, Heather Hunter, Chad Hain, Richard W. Lindsay Jr., Beth Sandemaier

Department of Theatre & Drama


David Gier, Dean
Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music

Department of
Theatre & Drama

Dr. Tiffany Trent

Department Manager/Artistic Administrator
Kathryn Pamula

Walgreen Events Manager
Nickie Smith

Performance and Studio Manager
Arie Shaw

Walgreen Office Coordinator

Tyler Brunsman

Christina Traister (Area Head), Halena Kays (Directing Advisor), Daniel Cantor (Acting Advisor), Raja Benz, Mark Colson, Antonio Disla, Jake Hooker, Holly Hughes, Tzveta Kassabova, Geoffrey Packard, Jeremy Sortore, Malcolm Tulip, Tiffany Trent

Christianne Myers (Area Head), Laura Brinker, Patrick Drone, Jess Fialko, Jungah Han, Kevin Judge, Richard W. Lindsay Jr., Sarah M. Oliver, Henry Reynolds, Nancy Uffner

Theatre Studies/Playwriting
Amy E. Hughes (Area Head), José Casas, Shavonne Coleman, Antonio Cuyler, Antonio Disla, Jenna Gerdsen, Jake Hooker, Petra Kuppers, Ashley Lucas, Mbala Nkanga, Jay Pension, Alexis Riley, Emilio Rodriguez, Karin Waidley

Arts Management
Michael Avitabile, Antonio Cuyler, Matthew Dear, Aaron Dworkin, Afa Dworkin, Ken Fischer, Gala Flagello, Andrew Kuster, Jonathan Kuuskoski, Kari Landry, Jay LeBoeuf, Robin Myrick, Jay Pension, Jesse Rosen, Omari Rush, Anna Sampson, Ari Solotoff

Scott Crandall, Holly Hughes, Tzveta Kassabova, Malcolm Tulip

Professors Emeriti
Alan Billings, Peter W. Ferran, Erik Fredricksen, Jessica Hahn, Philip Kerr, Priscilla Lindsay, Janet Maylie, Vincent Mountain, John Neville-Andrews, OyamO, Leigh Woods

University Productions Administrative Staff

Executive Director
Jeffrey Kuras

Sr Administrative Specialist
Christine Eccleston

Sr Administrative Assistant
Nathan Carrillo

Information Systems Manager
Henry Reynolds

Facilities Manager
Shannon Rice

Performance Halls
House Manager
Kelley Krahn

Lead Backstage Operations Manager
Dane Racicot

Senior Backstage Operations Manager
David Pickell

Backstage Operations Managers
Tiff Crutchfield, Alex Gay, Yvette Kashmer, Robbie Kozub

University Productions Production Staff

Production Manager

Paul Hunter

Assistant Production Manager

Michelle Williams-Elias

Lead Technical Director (Walgreen)

Richard W. Lindsay Jr.

Theatrical Scenery Manager (Power)

Chad Hain

Lead Scenic Carpenter

Devin Miller

Scenic Carpenter

Heather Udowitz

Charge Scenic Artist

Beth Sandmaier

Associate Theatrical Paint Manager

Madison Stinemetz

Theatrical Properties Manager

Patrick A. Drone

Associate Theatrical Properties Manager

Danielle Keys

Senior Properties Artisan

Dan Erickson

Properties Stock and Tech Coordinator

Kat Kreutz

Theatrical Lighting Manager

Heather Hunter

Associate Theatrical Lighting Manager

Jorrey Calvo

Sound Designer/Engineer

Henry Reynolds

Senior Costume Shop Manager

Laura Brinker

Assistant Costume Shop Manager

Leslie Ann Smith

Lead Cutter/Draper

Tj Williamson


Seth Gilbert, Sarah Havens


Rene Plante, Marcia Grace

Lead Costume Crafts Artisan

Elizabeth Gunderson

Costume Stock Manager

Theresa Hartman

Wardrobe Manager

Rossella Human

Visiting Theatrical Hair and Makeup Manager

Brittany Crinson


THE CHERRY ORCHARD is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by TRW PLAYS 1180
Avenue of the Americas. Suite 640, New York. NY 10036.

The performers in this production were students in the Department of Theatre & Drama. The designers for this production were students, faculty, and/or guests of SMTD. Scenery, costumes, properties, sound, and lighting were realized by the students and staff of University Productions, the producing unit of the SMTD. Thank you for supporting our educational mission.

Anton Chekhov (Playwright) was born on January 29, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia. His father, Pavel, was a grocer with frequent money troubles; his mother, Yevgeniya, shared her love of storytelling with Chekhov and his five siblings.

Through stories such as “The Steppe” and “The Lady with the Dog,” and plays such as The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, Anton Chekhov emphasized the depths of human nature, the hidden significance of everyday events, and the fine line between comedy and tragedy. Chekhov died of tuberculosis on July 15, 1904, in Badenweiler, Germany.

From the late 1890s onward, Chekhov collaborated with Constantin Stanislavski and the Moscow Art Theater on productions of his plays, including his masterpieces The Seagull (1895), Uncle Vanya (1897), The Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904).

In 1901, Chekhov married Olga Knipper, an actress from the Moscow Art Theatre. However, by this point his health was in decline due to the tuberculosis that had affected him since his youth. While staying at a health resort in Badenweiler, Germany, he died in the early hours of July 15, 1904, at the age of 44.

Chekhov is considered one of the major literary figures of his time. His plays are still staged worldwide, and his overall body of work influenced important writers of an array of genres, including James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Henry Miller.

Paul Schmidt (Translator), whose translations and/or adaptations of Phaedra, The Bacchae, and In the Jungle of Cities were staged at the American Repertory Theater in past seasons, was one of the most influential critics, translators, and playwrights of his time. His translations, including plays by Chekhov, Gogol, Genet, Brecht, and Marivaux, have been produced by such directors as Robert Wilson, JoAnne Akalaitis, and Peter Sellars and have won awards in France, Italy, and the United States. His plays have been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, and the Institute for Contemporary Art in London. Dr. Schmidt, who held a PhD in Slavic literature from Harvard, was a professor of Russian literature at the University of Texas and at Wellesley College. He also taught at Harvard, Cornell, and Yale and lectured widely in the United States and abroad. His critical essays appeared in The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and Delos. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Schmidt was the author of Meyerhold at Work, and editor of The Complete Works of Arthur Rimbaud and The Collected Works of Velimir Khlebnikov. His collected translations of Chekhov’s plays were published in 1997.

The ecodramaturgy of Chekhov’s cherry orchard – undeniable geographies:

We never “see” the cherry orchard in Chekhov’s last penned play before his untimely death from tuberculosis in 1904. Even in Act II, set out of doors in a crumbling chapel atop an old cemetery rather than inside the failing fortress of a passing landed gentry, the cherry orchard looms as an unsettling echo and dark scenic presence just out of reach. Similar, perhaps, to the longevity Chekhov’s last work would have and his prowess as a playwright that he would ultimately be unaware of. Gravely ill when The Cherry Orchard premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre, Chekhov was only able to see the last two acts on opening night before he would be whisked off to Germany for his final days spent in the Black Forest village of Badenweiler.

For Chekhov, the land lived and died in him. His happiest years were spent on his Melikhovo estate, nothing like Madame Ranevskaya’s fictive sprawling acreage, but enough to bring him tranquility, lyricism, and a lasting impression of the land that years later would inspire him to write to Stanislavsky “about his vision for the first act of The Cherry Orchard.” An act he would only see realized on paper, with “blossoming cherry trees [that] can be seen through the windows, an entire garden of white…and the ladies will be in white dresses” (Chekhov: Scenes from a Life, 193). The cherry orchard was an embodiment of the land he grew up with, that he experienced as being altered by ravage and revolution, and that he wanted to pen into permanence. In his play about the death of an old Russia based on (unequal) land ownership, he creates for us a narrative about people undeniably connected to and taken from place.

For, like Chekhov, the landscape lives differently yet palpably for each of these characters and thus for us, the audience. Although we never actually see the orchard, through them we can feel it, hear it, taste it (especially in the case of Firs as he recounts all the different types of cherries that were grown and processed here), maybe even smell it if we breathe in deeply and imagine its essence into being. The cherry orchard is the center of the play’s agon – its protagonist and antagonist, its conflict, its tension, at times its life, and through its destruction, the play’s final (re)solution.

So why does earth matter so much on stage and why the prevailing of a play whose nostalgic and myopic sense of land ownership and preservation is still such an important narrative to present? What is it about the (eco)dramaturgy of imagined geographies, written over a century ago, that should still render importance for us today?

In climate futurist Alex Steffen’s words below, I believe, are not only deep resonances of a swiftly changing past but the future implications found in this story. That this family, their former and present employees, their friends and hangers-on are all in their own way “…experiencing the shock that comes from recognizing that [they] are totally unprepared for what is already happening.” Like us today as we slowly (or quickly or reluctantly) come to terms with the careening effects of climate change, human impact, war and destruction, like them as they hear the unsettling twanging of broken branches and the untimely chopping of trees that cuts them to their very cores, we are experiencing a repetitive shock that is not just undeniable but, at the same time, totally recognizable. We’ve seen it all before. Something that could have, perhaps, been avoided, if they (we) just looked, if they (we) just saw, if they (we) just took a moment more to listen. The geographies – lands and communities – of this particular region, and across the world, are undeniably being forever scarred and lost. Is Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard yet another chance for us to “see” better, to look, to listen, to feel, to shake ourselves out of a complacent shock of being totally unprepared for what is not only quickly passing but happening right now, in this present?




~ Karin Waidley, dramaturg

What’s fascinating to me about The Cherry Orchard is that it contains intense contradictions: contradictions in style, theme, and action, and highly contradictory characters. It fully occupies a tragicomic perspective that is always moving, shifting, turning on a dime – whipping from the profound to the farcical, the spiritual to the absurd. And sometimes both at once.

Indeed, the dominant exploration of the play is on how the ground shifts under our feet. In this way the play is a meditation on change: its inevitability, its griefs, our excruciating anticipation of it, and how we dread it especially if it requires us to let go of something. That dread then converts into fulsome (and futile) acts of denial. Certainly, much of the action of The Cherry Orchard is a comic dance between reality asserting itself and its characters’ compensatory efforts to push it to the margins. And it’s in those acts of denial that we see their follies and their eccentricities: we’ve got mumbling old men, former circus performer ventriloquists, compulsive candy eaters, squeaky shoe stumblers, gluttonous narcoleptics, and perpetual nose

That is, this play, despite its chord of grief, has color, vitality, and humor. It is a play filled by a delightful crew of freakazoids who manage to be both entertaining and deeply human. The central aspect of their humanness is that they must face and endure the inevitability of change. Time will not stop for them, and its passage requires they let go of the old to step into the new. And that is a monumental task in its way, because I suppose, on some level, we are all aware that the ultimate act of letting go is the letting go of life itself. In this way the play really is a meditation on death; on the beauty and pain and ridiculousness we feel when we confront the fact of our own transience.

~Daniel Cantor, Director


Photos coming soon