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"The Threepenny Opera" by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill is considered a masterpiece of 20th-century musical theatre. The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance will perform the 1928 work Nov. 14-23.

"The Threepenny Opera," described by Brecht as a "play with music," is a criticism of capitalism and middle-class morality, set in a world of corruption with a score that draws upon opera, jazz and cabaret. Set in Victorian London, the musical focuses on the exploits of Macheath, an amoral criminal, who manipulates women and the law with equal dexterity.

The work has been translated into 18 languages and has more than 10,000 performances internationally. The opening song about Macheath's murderous ways, "Mack the Knife," became an unlikely pop hit in the 1950s for both Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin.

"The Threepenny Opera," which contains adult themes and language, was adapted from a translation by Elisabeth Hauptmann of John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera." The UC Davis production uses an English translation with dialogue by Robert MacDonald and an English translation of the lyrics by Jeremy Sams.

The musical is co-directed by Peter Lichtenfels, professor of theatre and dance, and performance studies doctoral student Regina Maria Gutierrez Bermudez. Music direction is by Granada Artist-in-Residence Jeffrey Saver, who has conducted "CHICAGO The Musical," "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Into the Woods" on Broadway.

Performances are Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23 at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Nov. 16 and 23 in the Main Theatre, Wright Hall. General admission tickets are $18.50, faculty/staff tickets are $17, and student/senior tickets are $12. Tickets may be purchased at the UC Davis Ticket Office, located on the north side of Aggie Stadium, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, by phone (530) 752-2471 during the same hours, or online at

For information about future performances at the UC Davis College of Letters and Science's Department of Theatre and Dance, visit

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