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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Curtain drops on Moscow terror show

By Stephen Dalziel
BBC Russian affairs analyst in Moscow

Musical
The theatre was stormed in October about a year after the show opened
The musical Nord-Ost which was disrupted last October when Chechen separatists seized the Moscow theatre where it was showing is to close.

The show re-opened in February, almost as a gesture of defiance but it has failed to achieve its previous popularity.

The curtain will finally come down on what is Russia's first home-grown musical on 10 May.

Nord-Ost opened in October 2001 but despite the relatively high price of tickets for the ordinary Muscovite, the show enjoyed great popularity until the performance on 23 October 2002.

Knowing that the performance included surprises - most notably, when a wartime bomber lands on the stage in the grand finale - many in the audience believed that the appearance of gunmen at the start of Act Two was part of the plot.

It soon became clear that it was not.

Hostages taken

More than 800 people in the audience were taken hostage.

After Russian troops stormed the theatre in the early hours of 26 October, using gas to stun the hostage-takers, all of the rebels and 129 of the hostages were killed.

The theatre was in need of a thorough overhaul, but the Russian authorities were determined that, as a gesture to show that the rebels had not won, the show must go on.

Nord-Ost re-opened on 8 February but the public's appetite had gone.

After it closes, the cast are to go on a short concert tour of Israel, Bulgaria, Greece and parts of the former Soviet Union.

But, after some 400 performances, the musical itself looks to be disappearing into a unique place in theatrical history.


SEE ALSO:
Musical is reborn in siege theatre
12 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
Theatre honours hostage victims
10 Nov 02  |  Europe
How special forces ended siege
29 Oct 02  |  Europe



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