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Announcing "The Kreutzer Sonata," A New Radio Play Airing On IPR Classical

Riverside Theatre

Iowa City, IA – The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature’s MusicIC festival has partnered with Riverside Theatre to create "The Kreutzer Sonata: A Play in Five Tiny Movements," by award-winning playwright Jennifer Fawcett, a radio play that will be aired on Iowa Public RadioClassical signals on Aug. 8, 2021.

Originally commissioned and presented by MusicIC in 2014, "The Kreutzer Sonata" is an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's 1889 novella of the same name. Fawcett’s adaptation tells the story of Pozdnyshev (played by Martin Andrews), a man who is so consumed by jealousy after hearing his wife (Saffron Henke) play Ludwig van Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, that he is driven to violence. Woven into the play is a performance of the Beethoven sonata and Leoš Janáček's String Quartet No.1 (also called Kreutzer Sonata), inspired by the Tolstoy novella.

MusicIC and Riverside Theatre had originally planned to co-present a live production of the play in fall 2020. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two organizations reimagined the production as a radio play, directed by Riverside’s Producing Artistic Director, Adam Knight. The resulting production -- led by Grammy Award-winning producer Jesse Lewis -- incorporates the music of Beethoven and Janáček throughout. The Beethoven Sonata for Fortepiano and Violin No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 (“Kreutzer”), is performed by Ian Watson (fortepiano) and Susanna Ogata (violin). The Janáček String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata," is performed by The Knights from an original concept and arrangement by Eric Jacobsen, with orchestration by Michael P. Atkinson and conducted by Eric Jacobsen.

Iowa Public Radio will air the production at 4 pm CT on Sunday, August 8. The play will be available on-air (including Cedar Rapids/Iowa City/Quad Cities: 91.7 FM, Cedar Falls/Waterloo: 89.5 FM and Des Moines: 105.9 FM among others) and streaming oniowapublicradio.org or via theIPR app. To find your local IPR classical station, visitiowapublicradio.org/find-your-signal. The play will also be available on-demand at iowapublicradio.org starting on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

MusicIC’s Artistic Director, Tricia Park, says “I’m thrilled to collaborate with Riverside Theatre for this special radio play version of our ‘Kreutzer Sonata’. Especially during these challenging times, I’m looking forward to this coming season with renewed hope. Ever since 2014 when MusicIC premiered and commissioned ‘Kreutzer Sonata’, I’ve planned to offer a restaging of it -- a ‘reboot,’ -- at some point. Despite the unprecedented obstacles arts organizations are facing due to the pandemic, I’m so proud of the ways in which MusicIC, Riverside Theatre, and the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature have responded to this moment and grown creatively. I’m also delighted to collaborate with Jesse Lewis, Ian Watson, Susanna Ogata, and The Knights as we collectively reimagine this project. Premiering this radio play on IPR is an amazing chance for MusicIC to reach beyond our loyal audience and let more people know about the great things happening here in Iowa.”

More information about this production and the MusicIC festival can be found at http://www.musicic.org/

To learn more about Riverside Theatre and the production, please visit www.riversidetheatre.org/the-kreutzer-sonata/

To learn more about the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization, please visit www.iowacityofliterature.org

Gretchen Kasperbauer is IPR's Marketing Manager