Anna Karenina

April 10 — May 6, 2012
On the U.S. Bank Main Stage

Adapted from Tolstoy by Kevin McKeon
Directed by Chris Coleman

Tolstoy’s classic story of love and marriage in Imperial Russia comes to our Main Stage in a new adaptation by Kevin McKeon, adaptor of Snow Falling on Cedars.

This tragic love story has been called by some the greatest novel ever written—it certainly has one of the most famous first lines: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” When Anna’s husband refuses to release her from their marriage to pursue her love for Count Vronsky, the wheels are set in motion for the ultimate sacrifice. Anna Karenina isn’t concerned with observing the minutiae of social etiquette, like Jane Austen, nor with righting social injustices, like Dickens. It’s about uncontrollable passions, and emotional and sexual betrayal, set against one of the most romantic periods of world history.

Performance times:
Tuesday - Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Thursday matinees at noon

A full list of performances and dates will appear when you enter the ticketing section of the website.

Anna Karenina runs approximately two hours and 45 minutes with one intermission.

View the cast and creative team bios

View the playbill for Anna Karenina

Learn more about accessibility options at PCS

Theatrical haze, gunshots and herbal cigarettes are used in this production.

Performance Times

Evenings: Tuesday - Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.,
Thursdays at noon

*Note: These are general performance times. Certain productions may have exceptions. View the season calendar for more information.

This show's run time will be posted below the synopsis at left near the date of the first performance.

Production blog

Anna Karenina Now Playing at Book-It Repertory

Anna Karenina Now Playing at Book-It Repertory

01 March 2013 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

Last April, audiences in Portland were treated to a stunning adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic romance Anna Karenina. Did you know that the production here at PCS was also the play’s theatrical world premiere, the first time that Kevin McKeon’s play was seen onstage, anywhere? Now, the play has moved on to a second production at Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theater. The moral of this story is that investing in new works for the stage is an incredibly important piece of today’s theater puzzle, that theaters across the country aspire to complete.


The Drama You Bring

02 May 2012 & Posted by Natalie Gilmore

Every audience member sitting in a darkened theater brings his or her own drama to the experience. It’s only natural that we’d see a play through the lens of our individual life and experiences. So of course Anna’s living space would speak volumes to an interior designer! She reads the language of fabric choices and furniture shapes as a profession. Tell us about a moment you saw in a play that sparked a particular resonance with your own life and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win tickets to Black Pearl Sings! and dinner for two at Cassidy’s!


The Oprah Book Club Phenomenon

02 May 2012 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

On May 28, 2004, Oprah Winfrey announced that the next novel in her book club would be Leo Tolstoy’s epic Russian masterpiece Anna Karenina. The book sold 79,000 copies in one week – doubling its total U.S. sales since its English publication in 1886. The next week, it was Number 1 on the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list. This sounds to me like another case of what I’ve dubbed the “Oprah Book Club Phenomenon.”



Art and photos Anna Karenina. View on Flickr »

Trailer for Anna Karenina. View on Vimeo »

Reviews and Features

Marty Hughley | The Oregonian [Review 20 Apr 2012]

Bathed in dusky blue light, imposing archways frame the stage. In the background sits the facsimile of a crowded roofline, studded with the soft-serve-like domes of Czarist Russian architecture. Add just a few seconds of movement—laboring peasants, followed by their upright aristocratic betters—and we know where we are and how things work. This is a society of grandeur (for some) built on toil (by many), set and solid in its ways.

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Aaron Scott | Portland Monthly [Review 20 Apr 2012]

Just as every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, to quote the opening sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, every theatrical adaptation is unhappy in its own way, too. Not to say that there aren’t many wonderful adaptations, but just that the adaptation process is a struggle that, much like a family, involves fights, oversights, and sacrifices, from which few exit unscathed.

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Matthew Korfhage | Willamette Week [Review 18 Apr 2012]

Tolstoy’s masterpiece Anna Karenina is a uniquely difficult novel to adapt into a play. It is a long and somewhat baggy affair that constantly swings between two contrasting main plots stitched within a broad quilting of Russian aristocratic life. One is a tempestuous tale of a woman (Anna) swept into impossible adultery with a noble but trifling military fop named Vronsky; the other is a much slower, more philosophic journey toward settled contentment by a landed gentleman and armchair lefty (Levin) who doubles for Tolstoy himself.

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Barry Johnson | Oregon Arts Watch [Review 16 Apr 2012]

A few days before opening night of Portland Center Stage’s grand fast-forward through “Anna Karenina” (hey, 700+ pages of Tolstoy condensed to under 3 hours of stage time!), I read a lengthy story by Rachel Swan in the East Bay Express about how theater is shrinking. From her vantage point in a major theater center, San Francisco and environs, she’d watched as the Recession trimmed budgets, cast sizes and ambitions at the theaters she covers, some of the biggest and most respected in the country.

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