Sean Astin joins David Strathairn and the Emerson String Quartet for Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy

The Black Monk

Groundbreaking multimedia theatrical realization March 11 at The Barns at Wolf Trap

Vienna, Virginia (February 13, 2018) – Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and Smithsonian Associates announces that American actor, Sean Astin, will join the cast as Stalin in the multimedia theatrical event, Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy on Sunday, March 11 at 7:30 pm at The Barns at Wolf Trap.

An actor, director, producer, writer, and activist, Sean Astin comes from a legendary acting family. With a career that has spanned three decades and 140 acting credits, Astin has shared his talent and heart with the world through iconic roles such as Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, the title character of Rudy, Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and recently as Bob Newby in the engrossing and critically-acclaimed Netflix series Stranger Things. Other credits include critically-acclaimed films Memphis Belle and The Low Life, television’s popular thriller 24 and Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain, and authoring a New York Times best seller There and Back Again: An Actor’s Tale, based on his experiences filming The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy was created by theatrical director James Glossman and Emerson String Quartet’s Philip Setzer. The work combines chamber music, theater, and multimedia projections to weave a tale of art, love, madness, and freedom. Written and directed by James Glossman, with music direction by Philip Setzer, the cast includes David Strathairn (Shostakovich), Ali Breneman (Younger Woman ), Alex Glossman (Younger Man), Evelyn McGee Colbert (Middle Woman), Paul Murphy (Older Man) and Linda Setzer (Old Woman). The music, including Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 14, is performed by the Emerson String Quartet.

Anton Chekhov’s mystical The Black Monk resonated with Dmitri Shostakovich and he dreamed of adapting it into an opera. In a bold intersection of chamber music and theater, the Emerson String Quartet, accompanied by an ensemble of actors, reimagines Shostakovich’s 50-year obsession. Told through the composer’s eyes, Shostakovich works for decades to tell Chekhov’s haunting story of a writer struggling for his sanity. Coming under political attacks from Stalin’s oppressive Soviet regime, Shostakovich struggles from a deteriorating body and mind to complete his life’s work.



Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, in collaboration with Smithsonian Associates

Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy
Created by Philip Setzer and James Glossman
Musical Direction by Philip Setzer
Written and Directed by James Glossman
Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm

The Barns at Wolf Trap is located at 1635 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182
Tickets, priced at $60, can be purchased online at, in person at the Barns Box Office, or by phone at 877.WOLFTRAP.


Shostakovich                                                     David Strathairn
Stalin                                                                     Sean Astin                                      
Younger Woman                                              Ali Breneman
Younger Man                                                     Alex Glossman
Middle Woman                                                 Evelyn McGee Colbert
Older Man                                                          Paul Murphy
Older Woman                                                    Linda Setzer


Director                                                James Glossman
Music Direction                                                 Philip Setzer
Music                                                                    Emerson String Quartet
                                                                                Eugene Drucker, Violin
                                                                                Philip Setzer, Violin
                                                                                Lawrence Dutton, Viola
                                                                                Paul Watkins, Cello

Special thanks to Dan and Gayle D’Aniello, Wolf Trap 2018 Season Underwriters.


Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally and internationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.

Smithsonian Associates, the largest museum-based education program in the world,produces vibrant educational and cultural programming that bring Smithsonian to life. Inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections, and exhibitions, each year more than 750 individual programs are presented to spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages. Seminars, performances, lectures, studio arts classes, and local and regional study tours, as well as many engaging programs for children, including performances, museum sleepovers and summer day camps offer unparalleled access to the Smithsonian’s world of knowledge. To find out more visit  

Tickets for The Barns at Wolf Trap

The most up-to-date information on artists, performances and ticket availability may be found on Wolf Trap’s website,

By phone:           1.877.WOLFTRAP

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