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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
US attacks musical gets 11 Sept debut
The World Trade Centre on 11 September
Dreznin says he is "drawn to the strength of the human spirit"
A musical about the events of 11 September is to receive its première on Wednesday - the first anniversary of the attacks.

The Metropol Theatre in Vienna, Austria is to show the musical, written by Moscow-born Sergei Dreznin who was in New York on the day the World Trade Center was destroyed.

We're used to disasters in Russia

Sergei Dreznin
Vienna-New York Retour tells the story of Suzanne, a struggling young singer who lands a dream role on Broadway on the eve of the attack.

The show is set to make its US debut later this year in Washington.

"I'm drawn to the strength of the human spirit against huge obstacles," said Dreznin, 47, who collaborated with Vienna-based American writer Dennis Kozeluh on the musical.


"I hope the events, and this musical, will broaden American minds and not narrow them."

The show uses a backdrop of still photos and video images from the moments before the attack to chronicle the morning's events, as Suzanne sets out from the borough of Queens for her first rehearsal.

Actor playing Osama bin Laden
The cast in Nazira are Hindus and Muslims
Then, to the sound of Austrian rock band Slash, the Twin Towers are attacked and the action moves to freelance journalist Amy Hendricks, at street level with a video recorder.

The musical ends with Suzanne struggling to come to terms with the attack - and a New York she barely recognises.

"As from a warm bed into a cold night, we leave the life we had," she muses.

Director Jesse Webb - from the US state of Louisiana - said: "When Sergei first approached me, I told him, 'You can't do this. You can't write a musical about September 11'".

"Then I realised that a lot of people have never really processed what happened.


"We've been careful not to wallow in the sentimental aspect of the attack. We just want to offer a means for dealing with it."

Vienna-New York Retour is not the first show which Dreznin has created out of macabre events.

He has previously composed Songs And Satire From Theresienstadt, a cabaret set in the former Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt, now in the Czech Republic.

In 2001 his Romeo And Juliet In Sarajevo, set the famous love story in the Bosnian capital in 1993.

Church play

"We're used to disasters in Russia," said Dreznin.

"It sounds weird, but I felt at home on September 11."

Meanwhile, US consul officials have attacked a production to be staged in a Scottish church which shows the terrorist mastermind as Santa Claus.

Wanted: Dead or Alive, by playwright Andrew Dallmeyer, is to be staged in a church in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

It depicts Osama Bin Laden disguising himself as Father Christmas in a Florida shopping centre.

'Intentionally provocative'

Mr Dallmeyer said: "The performance in no way condones al-Qaeda or terrorism, it just explores why September 11 happened from the Muslim point of view."

A spokeswoman for the US Consulate in Edinburgh branded the timing of the performance "insensitive and inappropriate", and Scottish Conservative culture spokesman Brian Monteith said it was "intentionally provocative".

And in a remote corner of India, a play about the attacks is being used to warn of the dangers of extremism.

Staged by the Sankardev Theatre in a canvas tent in Nazira, a small town in north-eastern Assam, the play is attracting thousands.

Spectators queue for tickets hours before the two daily shows, with an audience of 4,000 attending on Sunday.

New York despatches





See also:

10 Sep 02 | Entertainment
11 Nov 01 | Entertainment
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