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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 14:17 GMT
Moscow musical fights back
Georgy Vasilyev,
Georgy Vasilyev found himself a hostage
The producer of the musical which was abruptly halted when Chechen rebels stormed a Moscow theatre has insisted the show must go on.

Georgy Vasilyev, co-author and producer of Nord-Ost, was one of more than 800 hostages held inside the theatre, before the siege came to a dramatic and bloody end.

Eighteen members of the show's cast and crew died in the seige, including two girls aged 13 and 14, and many are still in hospital.


Even if Moscow authorities rebuild it, this place will remain cursed anyway

Georgy Vasilyev

"The losses for Nord-Ost are catastrophic," he said.

"But the worst is the psychological damage."

Mr Vasilyev said he hoped the show, regarded as Russia's first musical, would eventually be performed again, but never in the same theatre.

"Even if Moscow authorities rebuild it, this place will remain cursed anyway," he said.

The producer said the cast and crew had now been informed they were on indefinite, unpaid leave.

Love story

Much of the set and costumes are damaged beyond repair and Mr Vasilyev admitted he did not yet know how it would be possible to restage it.

Hostage being released
Hostages were kept inside for three days
But he suggested it could go on tour to Russian speaking cities including St Petersburg and Kiev.

Nord-Ost, which means North East in the language of Russian sailors, began a wave of musicals opening in Russia when it began in October 2001.

But many of the newcomers have been imported such as 42nd Street, which is sung in English, and the French Notre Dame.

Nord-Ost's plot is based on the novel Two Captains by Veniamin Kaverin and is mixed with love and intrigue during the Second World War II, complete with an aircraft landing on the stage.

Mr Vasilyev said one of the Chechens told him they had picked the theatre because it was likely to have fewer foreigners in the audience, and they only wanted to target Russians.

"I think also psychologically, Nord-Ost - with its bomber, its dancing pilots, its Russian music and Russian plot - might have subconsciously irritated and wounded the Chechens," he said.


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