Misha, 'Man In A Case,' At Hartford Stage

Do the pieces make him reflect of the nature of his own life then?

"I never dreamt that this is where I would end up my life," he says, referring to his most prominent role of running a multi-million dollar arts center. "There are huge challenges — fundraising especially and programming for two theaters. It's a huge responsibility."

The arts center is home for its resident company, The Wooster Group. St. Luke Orchestra also shares the building. There are guest artists from South American, Europe and Russia using its rehearsals rooms and stages.

"We have a good team but it's not always the most pleasant exercise running an arts center] because you have to be realistic sometimes."

Two years ago, Baryshnikov sold a painting at auction by Vasily Vereshchagin's "View of St. Petersburg" at Sotheby's — which waved its fee — and raised more than $700,000 for the center. "We were a bit short on the cash, but I feel old art should help make new art."

As for the future of "Man in a Case," Baryshnikov says, "I hope it has legs beyond the Hartford experience."

His is a a crowded future. Baryshnikov has an upcoming ensemble piece to perform with the Mark Morris Dance Theater this spring in Brooklyn. "And there are a couple of projects not yet announced but I don't want to run in front of the horse."

"It's been quite a ride," he says of his multiple careers, "and the years are passing so fast. It's been many years since I began here and wow, it all goes faster and faster the older you get. It feels as though the train is rushing down the hill, faster and faster with no breaks."

MAN IN A CASE begins previews Thursday, Feb. 21, at Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford. Press night is Wednesday, Feb. 27. The run continues through March 24. Tickets are $36.50 to $116.50. Information: 860-527-5151 and www.hartfordstage.org,

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