Review: THE THREEPENNY OPERA At Theo Ubique Cabaret A Must-See for the Musical Theatre Enthusiast

Theo Ubique truly thrusts the audience into the heart of the action like few other theaters can

Highland Park Players Announces Cast And Production Team For KINKY BOOTS

To see The Threepenny Opera is to peek into the history of musical theatre. Not quite an opera, and not quite a musical as we know it today, this show was in a class of its own at the time of its creation in 1920s Berlin. This seminal musical by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill has captivated audiences around the world with its biting social commentary and iconic score for nearly the last 100 years. The unique, immersive space that I have come to love at Theo Ubique truly thrusts the audience into the heart of the action like few other theaters can.

The cast, led by the talented director Fred Anzevino, brought to life the show's vivid characters with an impressive depth of emotion and nuance. We are quickly introduced to the infamous scoundrel, Captain Macheath - or rather, Mack the Knife. Carl Herzog's portrayal of this dastardly criminal was a tour de force, showcasing his impressive range as a performer. He infused the character with equal parts charm and menace, bringing the audience along on his wild ride. Herzog's vocal quality was so profoundly pure, at times sounding identical to the rich tones of Frank Sinatra.

But it was not just the lead actor who shone brightly. The rest of the cast was equally impressive, with each member bringing their unique talents to the stage. Polly Peachum was portrayed with a delicate vulnerability that made her all the more compelling by Chamaya Moody. Her ability to sing in an operatic style was astonishing, especially for those who saw her in deliver a completely different vocal style in Theo's The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Moody's delivery of Pirate Jenny gave me goosebumps, so captivating was her storytelling prowess.

Highland Park Players Announces Cast And Production Team For KINKY BOOTSReminiscent of The Thenardiers of Les Miserables, Mr. and Mrs. Peachum were as despicable as they were calculating. Thomas M. Shea gave us the cunning Mr. Peachum who commanded the stage with his no-nonsense presence. The way he snapped while snapping orders made you want to keep a wide berth from this slimy ringleader. The role of Mrs. Peachum seemed to be tailor-made for Megan Elk. Their shrewish crooning and sloppy demeanor was perfect for this character but oh-so hard to watch (in the best way). In sum, Shea and Elk were a casting match made in heaven.

Highland Park Players Announces Cast And Production Team For KINKY BOOTSJenny, the seductive and treacherous former lover of Mackie, was portrayed with just the right amount of sultriness and danger by Liz Bollar. Her powerful vocals left the audience entranced, and her Tango Ballad with Macheath was spellbinding. Michael Mejia in the role of Tiger Brown also had excellent stage chemistry with Mackie, albeit platonic. Their number Army Song, despite the disturbing subject matter, was one of the more invigorating songs of the show. Hats off to choreographer Jenna Schoppe for imbuing the choreography of this number with the rhythmic energy the song requires- I found myself attempting to recreate it in my living room when I returned home.

Tiger Brown's daughter, Lucy Brown, was brought to live by the spirited Nathe Rowbotham. The number Jealousy Duet where Lucy and Polly go toe-to-toe in an old-fashioned catfight had the audience rapt as we waited to find out with whom Macheath would ultimately side.

The staging and set design were noteworthy, with the minimalistic approach serving to enhance the show's gritty realism. The pianist Ryan Brewster, tucked away in the corner of the set, delivered Weill's jazzy score with impeccable timing and skill. The lighting design with its emphasis on cool hues was the quintessential cherry on top for transporting the audience into Victorian London.

One would be remiss to leave out the over-the-top makeup featured in this show. Bold colors, intensley rouged cheeks and darkly rimmed eyes fit in well with the grisly setting of this story. Finally, the costumes in Threepenny were fabulously tailored to each character. Whether it was a long white dress highlighting Polly's bridal innocence, or black and red bustiers for Mackie's evening companions, costume designer Cindy Moon thought of everything.

In short, this production of The Threepenny Opera was a triumph of local talent and creativity. The cast's remarkable performances breathed new life into this classic drama, reminding us of the enduring relevance of Brecht and Weill's masterpiece. This is a must-see for the musical theater enthusiast who wants to fully appreciate the history of this beloved artform.

The Threepenny Opera runs through April 30 at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Tickets can be purchased Click Here.


City Lit Names Brian Pastor Executive Artistic Director

City Lit Board President Daniel Robinson announced that Brian Pastor (they/them), City Lit’s current Resident Director and for nine years its Managing Director, will succeed City Lit’s Producer and Artistic Director Terry McCabe, who will retire on June 30, 2024, following the conclusion of City Lit’s recently announced 43rd season.

The Blues on the Fox Festival Returns This Month

The Blues on the Fox Festival is back, Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17 at downtown Aurora’s RiverEdge Park, where blues legends and rising stars will live on the banks of the beautiful Fox River.

Porchlight's Free Summer Concert Series, BROADWAY IN YOUR BACKYARD Returns This Month

Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to announce the return of its free summer concert series Broadway in your Backyard, now in its third year, June 27 - August 8, as part of Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series.

Congo Square Theatre Hosts Annual Free Festival On The Square Events In Three South Side Communities

Congo Square Theatre Company continues to prioritize its founding principles of radical generosity and radical community-building with an expanded Festival on the Square (FOTS) this summer.

From This Author - Kathleen Anwar

Kathleen Anwar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in government and a minor in computer science. During her time there, she performed in the Annual Madrigal Dinner (now in its ... (read more about this author)


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