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Moscow Theatres

Listed below are a few of our top recommendations for theatre outings in Moscow. For information about buying tickets, see your SRAS City E-Guide to Moscow


Name: The Bolshoi Theatre
Address: Teatralnaya pl., 1
Phone: (095) 292-99-86; 250-73-17 (box office)
Photo: Inside the Bolshoi, spectator seating
****The Bolshoi is closed for major renovation
- it will not open again until 2012!***

Low Down: One of Moscow's must-see attractions, the Bolshoi has a long tradition (since 1776) of excellence. Known as the world’s bastion (for better or worse) of classical ballet and opera, the Bolshoi is arguably the world’s most famous theatre. Its performances are especially good for beginner students of Russian as one does not need to understand any Russian to enjoy them. You many want to buy your tickets well in advance over the Internet. The Bolshoi also features a museum and a concert hall.

Note: If you want to see something on short notice, particularly something at the Bolshoi, you may find yourself at the mercy of scalpers.  Expect to pay 600 rubles and more for the ticket, no matter what the ticket says it cost. 

Recommended Productions:
Swan Lake ("Лебединое озеро")
The Bright Stream ("Светлый ручей") – on the new stage – a hilarious soviet-era piece
Spartacus ("Спартак") – One of the most popular ballets with Muscovites

 Name: The Moscow Art Theatre named for Anton Chekhov
Address: Kamergersky per., 3
Phone: (095
) 229-87-60; 292-67-48
Web: (all Russian)
Picture: Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at the MAT

Low Down: Most American universities, Hollywood directors and acting coaches teach acting according to the “Method” developed by Konstantine Stanislavski. This method was first developed and tested in the Moscow Art Theatre, making it another of the world's most famous theatres. The theatre is named for Chekhov because this is where he got his start as a playwright (with The Seagull). Incidentally, there is another Moscow Art Theatre (named for M. Gorky) that is not recommended so don’t confuse them.

Recommended productions:
The White Guard ("Белая гвардия") by M. Bulgakov
The Cherry Orchard ("Вишневый сад") or The Seagull ("Чайка") by A. Chekhov
Terrorism ("Терроризм") by the Presnjakovy Brothers - a striking, yet often-humorous play

 Name: Puppet Theatre named after S.V.Obraztsov
Sadovaya-Samotechnaya ul., 3
Phone: (095)299-3310, 299-5373, 299-5979
Web: (Some English)
Picture: The Youth of King Ludvig XIV at the Obraztsov  Puppet Theatre

Low Down: I know what you're thinking, but this is puppet theatre like you’ve never imagined it, with incredible sets and acting that will knock your socks off. Watch one man perform perhaps 12 roles, some himself, some with puppets he controls. You’ll be surprised how quickly you forget that it’s "just a puppet" and start becoming involved in the action. P.S. It’s listed as "children’s theatre" in most places, and the daytime matinees are fluffy children's pieces (and not so highly recommended).  The evening productions can be very serious/racy, but are generally incredible.  

Recommended productions:
The Hooligan's Confusion ("Исповедь хулигана") by S. Esenin
The Youth of King Ludvig XIV ("Молодость короля Людовика XIV") by A. Duma

Name: The National Russian Show (Inside the Hotel Cosmos)
Address: Prospect Mira, 150
Phone: (095) 234-1000

Low Down: This creative, well-funded dance company puts on one of the best shows in Moscow.  It's sort of like traditional, high-energy Russian dance meets Las-Vegas style flash.  Complete with laser shows, image projections, and some of the most strikingly beautiful sets and costumes we have ever seen in Russia, this show comes highly recommended.  However, beware, as you will be met with near-New-York style prices for admission (about $40; ask for a back-stage tour for about $5 more!). 

Name: Mossoviet Theatre
Address: Bol. Sadovaya ul., 16, "Aquarium" garden
Phone: (095) 299-3377, (095) 299-2035
Web: (All Russian)

Low Down: Founded in 1929 as the Theatre of the Moscow Trade Unions, the original mission of this theatre was to provide “inexpensive performances for simple audiences,” reflecting, most likely, Lenin’s declaration that art should resemble “the simple black bread of the peasantry.” Renamed in 1938 as Mossoviet (short for Moscow Soviet), this theatre has kept its Soviet era name, which has always been associated with productions of high artistic standards.

Recommended productions:
Jesus Christ, Superstar ("Иисус Христос – суперзвезда") American rock opera!
King Lear ("Король Лир") – an updated, translated version of Shakespeare’s classic.
The White Guard ("Бeлая гвардия") by M. Bulgakov

Name: Sovremennik Theatre
Address: Chistoprudny blv., 19a
Phone: (095) 921-64-73
Web: (All Russian)

Low Down: The Sovremennik is one of very few theatres founded during the Soviet Era to still survive with a world-famous artistic reputation. For decades, it has represented the cutting edge of Russian theatre. Furthermore, its productions of Chekhov’s plays are considered by many to be the best in Moscow.

Recommended productions:
The Cherry Orchard ("Вишневый сад") or The Three Sisters ("Три Сестри") by A. Chekhov
The Emperor’s New Clothes ("Ещё Раз О Голом Короле") by L. Filatov – This was Gorbachev’s favorite play for sometime The Three Comrades ("Три Товарища") by E. Remark – A German play about friendship, love, alcoholism, and prostitution in the days before WWII.

Name: The Maly Theatre
Address: Teatralnaya pl., 1/6.
Phone: 095-924-4083
Web: No Web Site

Low Down: The appropriately named little sister of the Bolshoi, this theatre lies just next door on Theatre Square. Most Russians consider it one of Moscow’s most boring, since it clings to “classical” or “academic” productions. However, American students of Russian will likely find the performances quite interesting, if not for the novelty (classical acting in America is quite rare), but also for the fact that classical actors speak very clearly and loudly (it’s easy to understand them).

Recommended productions: Anything by Ostrovsky, Chechov, or Shakespeare.


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