Mitchell Jarvis and Natascia Diaz Star in Signature Theatre's THE THREEPENNY OPERA, Beg. Tonight
Virginia's Tony-Award winning Signature Theatre announces the cast for The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's cutting and enduring critique of capitalism and corruption. Directed by Signature Theatre's Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner (Tender Napalm, Dreamgirls, Really Really), the production stars Mitchell Jarvis (Broadway's Rock of Ages) as the charismatic Macheath, known to popular culture as Mack the Knife.
The MAX Theatre transforms into London's gritty underworld in this reimagined futuristic dystopia for The Threepenny Opera, an adaptation of John Gay's 1728 ballad-opera The Beggar's Opera, a satirical commentary on politics, poverty, injustice and corruption at all levels of society. The haves clash with the have-nots while Macheath, the ultimate sneering anti-hero, perches in the middle of the storm. Paired with a haunting jazz score by Kurt Weill, Brecht's humorous and challenging libretto, originated the popular songs "The Ballad of Mack the Knife," "Life's A Bitch (and Then You Die)" and "Pirate Jenny." Signature's production will feature an adaptation by Robert David MacDonald (book) and Jeremy Sams(lyrics), which first appeared at London's Donmar Warehouse in 1994.
"We live in a world of inequality. There is no question about that. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has never been wider in America.," stated director Matthew Gardiner. "Because of that, Weill and Brecht's scathing satire feels as relevant today as it ever has, and MacDonald and Sam's adaptation of this classic piece retells the tale of Macheath for a modern audience in a truly thrilling and immediate way."
Jarvis is joined by Natascia Diaz (Jenny; Broadway's Man of LaMancha, Signature's Brother Russia, Kiss of the Spiderwoman), Erin Driscoll (Polly Peachum; Signature's Miss Saigon, [title of show], Urinetown, Ford's Theatre's Violet), Rick Hammerly (Lucy Brown; Signature's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Angels in America), Donna Migliaccio (Mrs. Peachum; Broadway's Ragtime, Signature's Beaches, Gypsy, Assassins, Sweeney Todd), Bobby Smith (Mr. Peachum; Broadway's Crazy for You, Signature's Spin, Company, See What I Wanna See), and John Leslie Wolfe (Tiger Brown; Broadway's Parade, Passion, Evita).
Rounding out the cast are Aaron Bliden (Folger Theatre's Romeo and Juliet), Jamie Eacker (Signature's Spin), Paul Scanlan(Signature's Company), Ryan Sellers (Signature's Miss Saigon), Thomas Adrian Simpson (Signature's Company), Jessica Thorne (Studio Theatre's Rocky Horror Show), and Katherine Renee Turner (Ford's Theatre's The Laramie Project).
The creative team includes Musical Direction by Gabriel Mangiante; Dialect Direction by Lynn Watson; Scenic Design by Misha Kachman; Costume Design by Frank Labovitz; Wig Design by Anne Nesmith; Lighting Design by Colin K. Bills; Sound Design by Lane Elms; Video Design by Rocco DiSanti; and Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein.
The Threepenny Opera begins performances tonight, April 22, and runs for 6 weeks through June 1, 2014 in Signature's MAXTheatre. All tickets are now on sale. More information is at signature-theatre.org. Performances run Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $40. Single tickets are available in person at the Signature Box Office at 4200 Campbell Avenue in Shirlington, by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT, and online at www.signature-theatre.org. There will be no performance on the evening of Tuesday, April 29. This production's Pride performance is scheduled forFriday, May 9. Discussion performances are scheduled for Tuesday, May 13 and Wednesday, May 21.
ABOUT THE THREEPENNY OPERA: Since its premiere in 1928, The Threepenny Opera has been translated into 18 languages and has received more than 10,000 performances internationally. Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's musical first premiered August 31, 1928 at the Theater am Shiffbauerdamm in Berlin and ran for nearly 400 performances over the next two years. Based on John Gay'sThe Beggar's Opera, Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera is a piece of "epic theater" and a harsh critique of capitalism.
The Threepenny Opera has been produced Off-Broadway and on Broadway, most notably in the Marc Blitzstein adaptation which premiered at the Theater de Lys in the Greenwich Village and ran for 2,707 performances. Other notable productions include the 1976 Lincoln Center production starring Raúl Juliá, the short lived 1989 Broadway production starring Sting, the 1994 Donmar Warehouse production and the 2006 Wallace Shawn adaptation starring Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper.
Marc Blitzstein's translation of "The Ballad of Mackie Messier" has become one of the world's most popular jazz standards. "Mack the Knife" has been recorded by Bobby Darin, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and many others.
ABOUT SIGNATURE THEATRE: Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington,Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 42 world premiere productions, is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces, and is home to the largest musical theater commissioning program in the United States.
In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such theater luminaries as Chita Rivera, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 82 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 340 nominations.