Music, Lyrics, Book, and Orchestrations
Music Director/Rachmaninoff
u/s Dahl/Natalya
u/s Rachmanioff
u/s Rach/Tchaikovsky, et al
u/s Chaliapin/Assistant to the Director
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Production Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Props Artisan
Assistant to the Director
Assistant Music Director
Head Electrician
FOH Engineer/A1
“I just want to be remembered.”


Music, Lyrics, Book, and Orchestrations by Dave Malloy
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
Music Director Dan Rodriguez
RUNNING TIME: Approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.
2022/23 Season Sponsors:
Paul Kastner
G. Lee & Diana Humphrey
Production: Sponsored by Don & Nina Berk
Director Sponsor: Courtney O'Connor Sponsored by Melissa & Ernesto Anguilla
Music Director: Dan Rodriguez, sponsored by Ron Sudol
Orchestra: Sponsored by James Kamitses & Cynthia Bencal
Sound Design: Andrew Duncan Will, sponsored by Madelyn & Paul Sorensen
This production includes a visual of a gun, gunshots, issues of mental health and depression.


When success and failure collide, can a young Rachmaninoff rediscover his musical genius?
Featuring incredible voices Lyric Stage audiences have grown to love joined by compelling new ones in a cast that shines. Dave Malloy's lush and exuberant compositions are interpreted by some of Boston's best musical theater performers in this musical gem that also features live on-stage Rachmaninoff pieces played by Music Director, Dan Rodriguez.

A musical fantasia, Preludes unfolds in the hypnotized mind of composer and virtuoso pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff as he attempts to overcome his writer’s block following a disastrous premiere of his Symphony No. 1 in D minor. In an array of hypnotic reveries, he is invigorated by some of the most influential artists of the time including Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Tchaikovsky. Creativity is unlocked and ignited through Dave Malloy’s (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) bewitching mashup of original compositions and Rachmaninoff’s own work that takes us on a glorious journey on an artist’s quest to secure a legacy and reclaim a voice.

Content Warning: Visual of a gun, gunshots, issues of mental health and depression.
ACT ONE In hypnotherapist Dahl’s office, Rach describes his day (“Your Day”). It is monotonous, depressing, and drawn-out. He says his days have been like this for three years; Dahl asks what happened then, and Rach responds that nothing did. As Rachmaninoff begins to play, Rach walks over to him and slams the piano lid shut.   A bundle of lilacs arrives at Rach’s door; Rach notes that he receives them every Sunday (“Lilacs”). His cousin and fiance, Natalya, purports that maybe it is a secret admirer. She reminds him that the priest is coming to their home that evening to help them get an audience with the Tsar – they need his permission to be married. In Dahl’s office, Rachmaninoff plays for her, as Rach explains that playing concerts brings money in, but his writing is more important. He also tells her that he’s spoken to many people and nothing has changed. Dahl suggests that she could change his mind, and asks him if he got any writing done today.   Chaliapin and Chekhov enter, rifles in hand and singing a boisterous folk song (“Ho Ho”). Chaliapin, a dear friend of Rach’s, introduces him to Chekhov, a playwright. Chekhov says that he is an admirer of Rach’s and that he will be a great man. He also says that compared to the pain others go through, Rach is doing pretty well, and offers him some advice: utilize silence. After they leave, Rach agonizes over his writers’ block and its suffocating effect on his psyche.   Dahl ushers Rach into a trance, as Natalya sings with her students in the background (“Vocalise”). Rach ponders where his music comes from, and confesses that he wants to be remembered. He describes the life he would want if he weren’t a composer, and his affection for Natalya. Dahl asks if she is happy; she is happier than he, Rach says. Back at home, Natalya tells Rach that Tolstoy has written, asking him to visit. Rach begins to panic, asking if Tolstoy remembers the symphony; Natalya assures him that it was three years ago, and no one remembers it. Natalya and Chaliapin encourage him to go, and Chaliapin suggests he bring Tolstoy a cactus.   On his way to his next appointment, Rach ponders the impact of Tolstoy’s writing on his, and wonders whether his success has made him happier (“Subway”). Dahl asks him who he writes for and whose opinions about his music matter. Rach describes a time that, as he played at home, a little girl danced to his music outside the window. But he also tells Dahl that there is no magic solution she can prescribe him; then he gestures to Rachmaninoff, asking who he is and if he’s always there.   Natalya recalls an autumn evening when she, Rach, and Chaliapin played the piano together. As they all sing, Rach stops them and asks who wrote the tune, becoming panicked. At the beckoning of a mysterious man, he leaves, finding himself face-to-face with Tchaikovsky. He compliments Rachmaninoff’s performance and focus; Rach laments that it is a deception, but Tchaikovsky insists on his brilliance. He asks Rach to calm his raging mind and be still (“Tchaikovsky’s Child’s Song”). Rach asks if the tune they sung is his or Tchaikovsky’s; Tchaikovsky asks if he really thinks they are talking right now. Dazed, he comes back to reality and goes to sleep, as Natalya sings of her affection for him and wishes she could ease his depression (“Natalya”).
ACT TWO Backstage at the opera, Rach and Chaliapin discuss his meetings with Dahl. Chaliapin mentions his visits to Goa, India, where they participate in ecstatic trance dancing. Dahl says that in the more aware states of trance, you can place things in your mind that affect your conscious life, and Chaliapin describes his experiences in trance (“Loop”). At their home, Natalya and Rach are at odds, but desperately want to understand each other (“Not Alone”).    Rach tells Dahl about the Prelude in C# minor, which he wrote when he was 19 (“The Prelude”). He describes the tension of constantly being asked to play it, and worries that it was the best thing he’ll ever compose or do. He is interrupted by Tolstoy, who he meets with Natalya as Dahl observes. In his old age, Tolstoy has become senile and volatile, and he tells Rach to stop moping and work – that his music is nonsense. As he leaves, a wounded Rach remarks that he came to Tolstoy as a god, but he is just an old man.   Dahl prompts Rach to tell her about the symphony. In excruciating detail, he describes the drunken conductor Glazunov, the disastrous performance, and the searing remarks of the composer and critic Cesar Cui (“The First Symphony”). She encourages him that he cannot let that night loom over the rest of his life. Rach and Natalya get their audience with the Tsar, and they describe to him how they fell in love playing piano together. The Tsar gives them his blessing (“Vespers”).   In her office, Dahl hypnotizes Rach, who envisions himself on Mount Kilimanjaro (“Hypnosis”). She helps him ground himself and asks him to take the first step. Once again she asks him what happened three years ago; Rach responds that he failed, and Dahl asks what happens next. Rachmaninoff describes what Rach said to him in hypnosis (“Mountains”). The mysterious Master reappears, describing to Rach the impact his piano concertos had on him. Rach asks who he is; he responds that he is just a guy, but that there are many of him. Rach returns to Dahl’s with the score of his Second Piano Concerto, which he has dedicated to her. He asks if he owes her anything, and Dahl responds that she owes him the music he will now write.
Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States 
** Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE
° Stage Directors and Choreographers Society  
† Member of AFM Local 9-535

Press & Reviews:

‘In Dave Malloy's 'Preludes,' Rachmaninoff's career is decomposing | The Boston Globe | Christopher Wallenberg
“So ultimately it becomes a show about writer’s block and depression and overcoming that,” Malloy says, “but it’s also very much a celebration of Rachmaninoff’s music and legacy and what it is to be a writer and artist.”
"Rachmaninoff tells it to his shrink in 'Preludes' at Lyric Stage Company" | WBUR, Artery | Jacquinn Sinclair
"Dan Prior is part of a talented ensemble that includes Anthony Pires Jr. as opera singer Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin. The Elliot Norton Award-winning Will McGarrahan— who portrays multiple characters including Chekhov, Tolstoy and Glazunov — is delightful. Aimee Doherty and musical director Dan Rodriguez nicely rendered a four-hand arrangement of the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6, and Rodriguez provides gorgeous piano throughout."
"Get into the mind of a composer with a new musical at the Lyric Stage Company" | GBH | Jared Bowen
" The production quite literally “is really taking us into the artist’s mind and even body in the small confines of the Lyric Stage Company,” Bowen explains, featuring the sounds of a steady background heartbeat and a look into Rachmaninoff’s time utilizing hypnotherapy in an attempt to reinvigorate his creativity."
"Preludes" Review | METRMAG.com | Kevin T. Baldwin
"Make no mistake -Preludes is a work of art - complex, multi-layered, well crafted and well executed. The entire creative team involved deserves much credit for the overall visual presentation that compliments and enhances the Malloy score."
"Preludes" Review | The Arts Fuse | Aaron Keebaugh
"But the Lyric Stage production’s greatest strength is Kayla Shimizu’s performance as Natalya. Her optimism convincingly offsets Rachmaninoff’s moodiness. But the woman has her limits, and Shimizu’s heartfelt performance reveals that she also had to deal with depression."
"Lyric Stage Company delves into musical genius Rachmaninoff’s chaotic mind in mesmerizing ‘Preludes’" | The Sleepless Critic | Jeanne Denizard
"Prior’s subtle yet searing performance delves into a defeated man reaching for a lifeline through therapist Dahl, depicted skillfully by Aimee Doherty with a contemporary vibe in a Pink Floyd T-shirt, black glasses and edgy depth. Doherty’s inquisitive and unorthodox methods may be the calm in the storm. " -Jeanne Denizard, The Sleepless Critic  
"Strange and Beautiful “Preludes” Enchants at the Lyric" | New England Theater Mirror | Michele Markarian
"Pires, Jr. is magnificent as Chaliapin. His solo turn in “Loop”, which opens Act II, is well worth the price of admission – he brings down the house, with Karen Perlow’s gorgeous purple lighting providing a psychedelic groove behind him."
"Lyric Stage’s Genre-Defying ‘Preludes’ Is A Trip" | New England Theater Mirror | Shelley A. Sackett 
"Malloy and Lyric Stage Company have given us an opportunity to expand our theatrical horizons, loosen the reins and just go with the flow, and for that we thank them."
"A Slow Build to Preludes" | MySouthEndnews.com | Jules Becker
"Talented veteran music director-pianist Dan Rodriguez, performing part of the second piano concerto, finds all of the fire and precision of Rachmaninoff's own playing."
Preludes Review | Boston Arts Diary | Charles Munitz
"It’s a daring experiment in historical reflection on artistic anguish, and with its innovative compositional example, presents some truly interesting and offbeat ideas about what non-cookie-cutter musical theater can be."-Charles Munitz, Boston Arts Diary
A Prelude at the Heart of “Preludes” | The Boston Musical Intelligencer | Laura Stanfield Prichard
"The play concludes with “Hypnosis” (finally featuring Dahl, sung very movingly by Aimee Doherty), and “Mountains,” a shattering breakthrough featuring the first and second themes from the opening movement of his Second Piano Concerto. At last, we are released from the prison of the composer’s mind. Melody sweeps over the audience, cleansing us of the ordeal of composition, and leaving us with its fruits."

Ticket Prices

Single Tickets
Play Center Musical Center Play Side Musical Side
ST Wed Mat $55 $60 $40 $45
ST Weeknight $70 $75 $50 $55
ST Weekend $75 $80 $55 $60
20% Prices for Group Sales
Play C Musical C Play S Musical S
ST Wed Mat $44 $48 $32 $36
ST Weeknight $56 $60 $40 $44
ST Weekend $60 $64 $44 $48


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