Theater review: Two very different creators meet in Nureyev's Eyes

David Rush's revealing play runs through this Sunday at American Stage.

Through much of the 1960s and 1970s, Rudolph Nureyev was the most famous male ballet dancer in the world. At the same time, Jamie Wyeth was a well-known, if not always well-considered realist artist, whose proclivities as a painter were more in line with those of his father Andrew and grandfather N.C. than with the late modernist and postmodernist approaches that dominated the art world of the time. David Rush’s Nureyev’s Eyes is a play about the several encounters of these two very different artists in the late 1970s, when Nureyev agreed, reluctantly it would seem, to be painted by Wyeth. In conjunction with the drama, an exhibit of Wyeth’s Nureyev paintings and sketches is currently taking place at St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts (through January 18). Theoretically, contact with the one show should lead us to the other, if for no other reason than to let us determine whether Rush imaginatively “got it right.”