Threepenny Opera with Cumming, Falco and McKay Announced for Spring '06
Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) will present Tony® award winning Alan Cumming as "Macheath," Emmy® and Golden Globe® award winning Edie Falco as "Jenny" and Nellie McKay as "Polly" in a new Broadway production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, directed by Scott Elliott on Broadway at Studio 54. Roundabout Theatre Company has commissioned Wallace Shawn to translate and adapt the original German book and lyrics for the production.
Performances will begin in Spring 2006. This will be a limited engagement. The cast and creative team will be announced shortly.
The Threepenny Opera serves up a deliciously dark satire of "respectable" society, with dashing thieves, saucy prostitutes, and lingering melodies. Based on Elizabeth Hauptmann's German translation of John Gay's eighteenth-century The Beggar's Opera , The Threepenny Opera thrusts the audience into the seedy underworld of Mack the Knife, a dapper criminal and his wry love affair with Polly Peachum.
Scott Elliott is an Associate Artist of the Roundabout Theatre Company. For the Roundabout Theatre Company, he has directed Chekhov's Three Sisters and Clare Boothe Luce's The Women.
The Threepenny Opera premiered on Broadway at the Empire Theatre on April 13, 1933. The last Broadway revival began at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 5th, 1989.
The Threepenny Opera will be the fifth musical at Studio 54 since Roundabout Theatre Company purchased the venue that will serve as their new home for musical theatre productions and special theatrical events. The past tenants include Pacific Overtures, the Tony® award-winning production of Assassins and the Tony® award-winning production of Cabaret which had its final performance on January 4, 2004, after a six year run.
Tickets will be available in the Spring of 2006 and available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, check online at www.roundabouttheatre.org for details.
BERTOLT BRECHT (1898-1956). Poet, playwright, and theatre director, born in Augsburg, S Germany. His early plays, marked by a revolt against bourgeois values, won him success, controversy, and the Kleist Prize in 1922. Popularity came with Die Dreigroschenoper (1928, The Threepenny Opera), an adaptation of Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728), and from then until 1933 his work was particularly concerned with encouraging audiences to think rather than identify, and with experimentation in epic theatre and alienation effects. Hitler's rise to power forced him to leave Germany, and he lived in exile for 15 years, chiefly in the USA. During this period, he wrote some of his greatest plays, including Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (1938, Mother Courage and her Children) and Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis (1945, The Caucasian Chalk Circle). After his return to East Berlin in 1948, his directorial work on these and other plays with the Berliner Ensemble firmly established his influence as a major figure in 20th-c theatre. In 1955 he received the Stalin Peace Prize.
KURT WEILL (1900-1950) began his career in the early 1920's, after a musical childhood and several years of study in Berlin. By the time his first opera, The Protagonist (Georg Kaiser), was performed in April 1926, he was an established young German composer. But he had already decided to devote himself to the musical theater, and his works with Bertolt Brecht soon made him famous all over Europe. He fled the new Nazi leadership in March 1933 and continued his indefatigable efforts, first in Paris (1933-35), then in the U.S. until his death. Certain common threads tie together his career: a concern for social justice, an aggressive pursuit of highly-regarded playwrights and lyricists as collaborators, and the ability to adapt to audience tastes no matter where he found himself. His most important works: the Violin Concerto (1925), The Threepenny Opera (Bertolt Brecht, 1928), Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Brecht, 1930), The Pledge (Caspar Neher, 1932), The Seven Deadly Sins (Brecht, 1933), Lady in the Dark (Moss Hart and Ira Gershwin, 1941), Street Scene (Elmer Rice and Langston Hughes, 1947), Lost in the Stars (Maxwell Anderson, 1949). He died of heart failure in 1950, shortly after he and Anderson began work on a musical adaptation of Huckleberry Finn, leaving behind a large catalogue of works and a reputation that continues to grow as more of his music is performed. Weill was raised in a religious Jewish family in Dessau, Germany. Although he was not observant, he composed a number of "Jewish" works, from a vast score to The Eternal Road (1937, Franz Werfel) to a setting of the Kiddush. He married actress Lotte Lenya in 1926; they maintained a close relationship throughout his life despite their divorce in 1933 (they remarried in 1937).