Misha’s Party

Richard Nelson, Alexander Gelman

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MISHA’S PARTY is set one August night in Moscow: a man attempts to throw himself a sixtieth birthday party, a grandmother attempts a reconciliation with her granddaughter, and one half of the government attempts to overthrow the other half. With the 1991 attempted coup for its backdrop, the play is a funny and ironic tale about how simple solutions only look simple and how past mistakes aren’t easily made right.

Production Info

Cast: 14 total (7 female, 7 male)
Full Length Drama (about 125 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
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Press Quotes

“MISHA’S PARTY is an example of two creative minds finding a common language to brew an enjoyable and stimulating broth … the play is a noteworthy alternative to the current vogue of having playwrights translate and adapt the works of dead playwrights … The players invited to the party not only squeeze every drop of humor from the pivotal character’s chaotic relationships but tap into the emotional and political ideas bubbling beneath the surface … The plot’s comedic wellspring is a dinner arranged by Misha to celebrate his 60th birthday and to reconcile his past. From that past he’s invited two ex-wives and their husbands. To complete the family circle there’s his twenty-five-year-old future wife who’s two years younger than her roommate and his daughter. In Misha’s suit pocket is a speech designed to effect this reconciliation. As if the volatility of this core guest list weren’t enough, the party takes place on August 20, 1991 and the hotel dining room faces the Russian White House being besieged during an attempted coup d’etat. That this political turbulence within earshot reflects the familial turbulence on stage is obvious from the title in which the playwrights slyly hint that Misha, which is a nickname for Mikhail (as in Gorbachev), is not the only one whose party does not end as expected. This political subtext also contributes a parallel story centering on a smaller group of American travelers. These include Mary, a woman Misha’s age with her own uneasy family situation. Her rebellious sixteen-year-old granddaughter is having an affair with Fred, a younger version of the womanizing Misha. What’s more, she’s disappeared into the tank-filled Moscow streets, just as her grandmother, lover and a friend of her father’s are trying to get them safely out of the country … [a] stockpot of amusing dialogue [with] zesty flavor …” —Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp

About the Author


  • Alexander Gelman

    Alexander Isaakovich Gelman, original given name Shunya, is a Bessarabian-born Soviet and Russian playwright, writer, and screenwriter. A survivor of the Holocaust during childhood, Gelman became a playwright and screenwriter after working as a newspaper journalist in Leningrad in the 1960s, winning the USSR State Prize in 1976. He has resided in Moscow since 1978.

  • Richard Nelson

    Richard Nelson's plays include the four-play series, THE APPLE FAMILY (THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, SWEET AND SAD, SORRY, REGULAR SINGING (Nominated for Outstanding Play in Drama Desk Awards 2014; Public Theater, 2010 – 2013), NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS (Lincoln Center Theater, 2013), FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE (Hampstead Theatre, 2012), HOW SHAKESPEARE WON THE WEST, (Huntington Theater, 2008), CONVERSATIONS AT TUSCULUM (Public Theater, 2008), FRANK'S HOME (Goodman Chicago, Playwrights Horizons, 2007), RODNEY'S WIFE (Playwrights Horizons, 2004), WHERE I COME FROM (National Theatre Connections), MADAME MELVILLE (which ran in the West End starring Macaulay Culkin and Irene Jacob and opened in May 2001 Off-Broadway); GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE (winner of Olivier Award for Best New Play, 2000), KENNETH'S FIRST PLAY (with Colin Chambers, RSC), THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA (at the RSC and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York), NEW ENGLAND (RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), MISHA'S PARTY (with Alexander Gelman, RSC and Williamstown Theater Festival), TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS (Tony nomination for Best Play, RSC and Broadway), COLUMBUS AND THE DISCOVERY OF JAPAN (RSC Barbican), SOME AMERICANS ABROAD (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy; RSC, Lincoln Center and Broadway), LEFT, BETWEEN EAST AND WEST (Hampstead), PRINCIPIA SCRIPTORAE (winner of Time Out Award, RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, AN AMERICAN COMEDY, BAL, CONJURING AN EVENT, RIP VAN WINKLE, JUNGLE COUP, THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, THE VIENNA NOTES (Obie Award). His musicals include JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD (starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown; Playwrights Horizons, Belasco Theatre, Broadway, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, Kennedy Center, Washington; for which he received a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Musical Book), CHESS (the book for the Broadway musical), PARADISE FOUND (dir: Harold Prince and Susan Strohman), MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE (with Ricky Ian Gordon; Playwrights Horizons), UNFINISHED PIECE FOR A PLAYER PIANO (with Peter Golub). His translations and adaptations include TYNAN starring Corin Redgrave (with Colin Chambers, RSC and West End), LOLITA with Brian Cox (National), Molnar's THE GUARDSMAN (Kennedy Center), Carriere's THE CONTROVERSY (Public Theater), Fo's ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (Broadway), Strindberg's THE FATHER with Frank Langella (Broadway) and MISS JULIE (Yale Rep), Beaumarchais' THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (the Guthrie and Broadway); Molière's DON JUAN, Ibsen's WILD DUCK and ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, Pirandello's ENRICO IV, Goldoni's IL CAMPIELLO, Erdmann's THE SUICIDE. With the esteemed translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, he was co-translated Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Gogol's THE INSPECTOR, Turgenev's A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY and Bulgakov's DON QUIXOTE. Films: Hyde Park on Hudson, staring Bill Murray and Laura Linney (Dir: Roger Michell), Ethan Frome, starring Liam Neeson (Dir: John Madden); Sensibility and Sense, staring Elaine Stritch and Jean Simmons (Dir: David Jones). Television: The End of a Sentence with Edward Herrmann (Dir: David Jones). Radio Plays include: HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, LANGUAGES SPOKEN HERE (Giles Cooper Award), EATING WORDS (Giles Cooper Award), ADVICE TO EASTERN EUROPE, AN AMERICAN WIFE (all BBC).

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/22/2021
Pages 98
ISBN 9780881459074

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Misha’s Party is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC