Moises Kaufman, Musicologist?

Playwright Moises Kaufman takes a pause from writing about gay martyrs and casts Jane Fonda in a drama about Beethoven and musical obsession -- 33 Variations .

BY Robert Hilferty

March 03 2009 12:00 AM ET

33 VARIATIONS JANE FONDA SUSAN KELLERMAN X390 (JOAN MARCUS) | ADVOCATE.COM

Never mind. By the way, do you have a musical
background?

I played a little piano while growing up in Venezuela.

How much research did you do for the play?

William Kinderman, the leading expert on "The Diabelli
Variations," was my mentor through all of this. I also
hobnobbed with other Beethoven scholars, and made the journey
that Katherine makes in the play. I went to Bonn, Germany
[Beethoven's hometown], and spent time with Dr. Gertrude
Ladenburger in the archives looking at his sketches.

Those sketches are legendary, graphic pictures of
perfectionism run amuck. What did you find?

I'm in love with those sketches. I've spent hours and hours
with them. Just the pictorial quality of them is beautiful.

You even have projections of them on the set throughout the
evening -- certainly a first for Broadway!

Well, they capture the emotions of Beethoven as he was
composing: Sometimes they're turbulent, sometimes very clean.
You can see what passages he labored over and what passages
came easily. It shows his compositional process. They are
another character in the play.

Tags: Theater

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