Bella, Belle of Byelorussia

A Comedy with Music in 2 acts by Jeffrey Essman. Music by Michael John La Chiusa

WPA Theatre - Off-Broadway - Opened 3 January, 1992. Closed 9th February, 1992 (39 perfs)


An absurdist comedy and musical revue about the fall of the Soviet Union as seen through the wide eyes of Bella, a naive young Russian girl embroiled by the Communist party in a hysterically funny twister-game of seduction, blackmail and pre-coup politics.

Bella works in a tractor factory in Minsk, circa 1989. All of her friends and family seem to be going capitalist, but poor Bella is behind the times and longs to fulfil her childhood dream of belonging to the Communist Party. She is finally admitted, but her factory supervisor Oglokov blackmails her into seducing and discrediting Giorgi, his arch rival for a top Party position. Against her good judgement, but forced by subtle extortion directed against her mother, Bella succumbs and devises an elaborate plot to catch Giorgi in a compromising position in the men's room of a Soviet disco, but she soon falls in love with Giorgi instead.

From then on, Bella must resort to a whirlwind of farcical plots and counter-plots to keep Oglokov in the dark, her mother out of jail, and Giorgi by her side.

Cast: 3 men, 4 women.