Visit Pittsburgh – For its 100th production, Quantum Theatre returns to Rodef Shalom Congregation with The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (The Chagall Musical), opening Oct. 28, and playing through Nov. 26 (Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.).
Paired with Violins of Hope, this Klezmer musical by Daniel Jamieson and Ian Ross, based on the love story of artist Marc Chagall and his poet wife, Bella, takes its name from the Lithuanian city where Chagall was born (1887) — and for the relationship memorialized in many of his paintings.
A Fitting Pairing
Artistic Director Karla Boos says, “Violins of Hope has the word ‘hope’ in its title, and I do think it’s meant to prompt thoughts of survival and how good can’t be suppressed, will overcome. Among all the offerings in town, our Flying Lovers about the Chagalls really leans into that hope, being about survivors, so I think audiences will take joy in that away, and amazement at this story of the 20th century; all these things that happened and people who overcame are the shoulders we stand on.”
This is the second project that Douglas Levine, keyboard/music direction, orchestration and additional arrangements, has done with “visionary” Karla Boos. (He’s been active in the local theater and music scene since the early 90s as a pianist, composer, music director and educator.)
Summarizing the production, he says, “The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk is the story of Marc and Bella Chagall’s meeting, courtship, marriage…their life, love and so much art, beautifully and at times dreamily rendered through words and live music.”
Levine continues, “Ours will be a reimagining of the inspired original script and score of Kneehigh’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. [The show’s director and choreographer Gustavo Zajac] is adding a handful of beautiful Yiddish folk songs from his youth, which magically support the story, and which many in our Pittsburgh audiences will recognize — and everyone will enjoy.”
Levine says he’s had the rewarding opportunity to both re-orchestrate the original score, as well as arrange and orchestrate the additional Yiddish music. “PLUS,” he adds, “I get to perform the score live with two fantastic local musicians, violinist Cara Garofalo and reed player Lenny Young. For me, live music and theater, like Marc and Bella, are a match made in heaven!”