THREEPENNY & MOON Director Carmen Capalbo Dies at 84

THREEPENNY & MOON Director Carmen Capalbo Dies at 84

Carmen Capalbo, theater director and producer who was best known as the mastermind behind the hit revival of The Threepenny Opera off-Broadway in the 1950s, died of emphysema at his Manhattan home on Sunday at age 84. He is perhaps equally famous for his staging of Eugene O'Neill's "Moon for the Misbegotten" premiere on Broadway in 1957.

Capalbo's production of The Threepenny Opera opened what is now the Lucille Lortel Theatre in downtown Manhattan.  After completing its limited engagement run, it reopened and ran for a near record 2,611 performances (topped off-Broadway only by The Fantasticks). The production was so popular that in 1956, its opening year, the American Theater Wing broke from tradition of honoring only Broadway shows, and awarded Tony Awards to The Threepenny Opera, and its supporting actress, Lotte Lenya.

In addition to his critically acclaimed production of Moon for the Misbegotten, on Broadway Capalbo also directed The Potting Shed, The Cave Dwellers, and Seidman and Son. 

Prior to the success he found with Moon and Threepenny, he attended the Yale School of Drama and with peer Leo Lieberman, formed the repertory company Spur. Under its banner, he directed four plays at the Cherry Lane Theater in 1946, Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock and Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing! among them.

Capalbo struggled later in his career with the failed The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and a musical adaptation of The Chosen.

He is survived by a son, Marco, a sister, Jenny First, and a daughter, Carla.

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