The Overcoat: A Musical is based on the 1842 short story by Russian absurdist, novelist and playwright, Nikolai Gogol. Created by Michael, Rosemarie and Constantine Costi, The Overcoat is a dark, new musical comedy about an office worker’s ill-fated attempt to find a sense of belonging in a lonely city. The Overcoat is set in the frantic city streets of St Petersburg, as seen through Nikolai’s eyes. It is an imagined city inspired by Russian avant-garde art and film of the 1920s. The city pulses to the rhythm of a Russian jazz trio. The Costi siblings Rosemarie, Constantine, and Michael are all forging significant careers in the theatre and music worlds. They have joined forces for the first time to create a new work which will be premiered at Belvoir St Theatre in November.
“Nikolai is a clerk and a social outsider – perpetually uncomfortable in his skin,” says director Constantine Costi. “Following an embarrassing exchange with a colleague, he decides to sell everything he owns in order to buy a brand-new overcoat in a desperate effort to change his life forever.”
The Overcoat features a cast of four and a band consisting of piano, saxophone, and double bass, performing music composed by Rosemarie Costi. “The songs and music draw on a combination of traditional Russian folk tunes and bebop jazz,” says Rosemary. “Gogol’s writing has an innate lyricism as his characters scurry about trading office gossip and scandals. Typewriters, the tailor’s sewing machine, and the howling Russian wind all provide inspiration to the soundtrack inside Nikolai’s mind.”
Librettist Michael says, “The Overcoat is a surreal puzzle. There are no triumphs, no heroes or happy endings. But there is a love story. Seeking warmth from the Russian winter, Nikolai turns to the only thing incapable of rejecting or tormenting him, a brand new coat.”
“There is something extremely relevant about The Overcoat. Today, we are more disconnected from each other than ever, climbing bureaucratic ladders to nowhere, and much like Nikolai, we slip through cracks and seek solace in objects and comforts we can’t afford in the hope they give us purpose.”
Actor and musician Charles Wu will play the central role of Nikolai. After graduating from NIDA in 2014, Charles has appeared in Samson and Jasper Jones (Belvoir), Chimerica, Three Sisters and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (STC). He has starred in Foxtel’s Secret City, Channel Nine’s Doctor Doctor and Here Come The Habibs and Kriv Stenders’ Australia Day. As a musician, Charles works under the moniker Earthquake Magnificent, an electroacoustic project blending Asian pop, folk, noise and hiphop.
Cast: Kate Cheel, Aaron Tsindos, Charles Wu, Laura Bunting.
Created by Michael, Rosemarie and Constantine Costi, Director Constantine Costi, Book and lyrics Michael Costi, Production Designer Emma Vine, Lighting Designer Alex Berlage, Composer Rosemarie Costi
TICKETS/BOOKINGS: Preview tickets are $20. ( 14 and 15 November at 8.15 pm)
Bookings or call Belvoir Box Office (02) 9699 3444