My feelings about the shows are similarly mixed and since last Saturday's post was so paltry, I'm going to go on a bit longer than I usually do and wrap two reviews in one so that I can tell you about both of them.
An eight-piece orchestra seated around the room provides the rest of the music—a mashup of techno, Russian folk tunes and emo ballads—and the musicians even join in a couple of the dance numbers, choreographed with great brio by Sam Pinkleton.
And as if that weren't enough, the show is directed by the always-adroit David Cromer and its 18-member cast is lead by such powerhouse performers as Michael Cerveris, John Glover, Stephen Kunken, Blair Brown and the 88 year-old vet Alvin Epstein.
Meanwhile Cromer orchestrates the actors so deftly that even with all the comings and goings required for 18 characters, nothing seems awkward or hurried. In one delightful bit of stagecraft, the Russians speak unaccented English when they are speaking to one another in Russian and with pronounced Russian accents when they are speaking English to outsiders like Balanchine’s wife, the ballerina Maria Tallchief, or the visiting American diplomat Chip Bohlen.