Theatre Tampa Bay Award
Theatre Tampa Bay Nominated
What It’s About
Set in London in the 1800s, The Threepenny Opera is a musical satire (don’t be fooled by the word “opera”) about a notorious bandit who marries a girl much to the chagrin of her father, forcing the peeved patriarch to do everything in his power to imprison his son-in-law. Ahead of its time, the political and social themes in this iconic piece of musical theater get at the corruption of humanity and how it consumes us and forces us to consume one another.
Last revived on Broadway in a Tony Award-winning production starring Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper (and even more recently revived in London starring Rory Kinnear), The Threepenny Opera must be recognized as the grandfather of musicals like Cabaret and Chicago that show us singing and dancing our way to our own destruction. David M. Jenkins directs with Jeremy Douglass set to return after previously helming LIZZIE’s six-piece band (several of whom also return here) as music director.
The Threepenny Opera is is presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals.
Why It’s For YouAny musical theater aficionado will want to be able to say they’ve seen this iconic show (featuring popular hits like “The Ballad of Mack the Knife” and “Pirate Jenny”) that truly changed the rules and has inspired so many shows after it. It is a timeless and timely social and political satire. Lovers of the dark, curious, and unusual will be enthralled by the aesthetic and the show’s themes. Fans of Amanda Palmer, Danny Elfman, and the Tiger Lillies will want to see where so much inspiration came from.
Why We Chose ItAfter several years of producing kitschy and cult-hit musicals on the Jaeb stage, we decided we wanted to reach a broader audience while still serving those fans of work like LIZZIE, Silence! the Musical, and Return to the Forbidden Planet. We think this show does just that. It’s also a dark enough show with just enough mayhem to fit into the Halloween season. This is a tremendous undertaking – our biggest musical yet, featuring the work of over two dozen regional artists – and we’re itching for the challenge.
About the Writers
Bertolt Brecht (Book, Lyrics) (1898-1956) was born in Augsburg, Germany. He grew to maturity as a playwright in the frenetic years of the twenties and early thirties, with the plays Man Equals Man, The Threepenny Opera, Mahogonny, and The Mother. He left Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933, eventually reaching the United States in 1941, where he remained until 1947. It was during this period of exile that the masterpieces Life of Galileo, Mother Courage, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Puntila were written. Shortly after his return to Europe in 1947 with his wife, Helene Weigel, he founded the Berliner Ensemble, becoming its executive director, and from then until his death, Brecht was mainly occupied in producing and directing his own plays there.
Marc Blitzstein (Adapter) (1905-64) was born in Philadelphia and appeared as a pianist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 15. He later studied with the influential French teacher Nadia Boulanger and the Austrian-born composer Arnold Schoenberg. His works include the opera Regina (1949), based on Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, The Cradle Will Rock (1937) and No For An Answer (1941) and an English adaption of the German poet Bertholt Brecht’s book and lyrics for The Threepenny Opera, by the German-American composer Kurt Weill.
Kurt Weill (Music) (1900–1950) wrote some of the most important works of opera and musical theatre of the first half of the 20th century. His first opera, Der Protagonist, was performed in Dresden in 1926; this was followed by several more avant-garde works, including Royal Palace (1927) and Der Zar lässt sich photographieren (1928). In 1927 he first collaborated with Brecht on the Songspiel Mahagonny, which met with such success that they extended the piece into the full opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1930). Brecht and Weill also worked together on Die Dreigroschenoper (1928), a contemporary adaptation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera of 1728. Brecht’s striking scenarios and texts and Weill’s richly varied scores ensured that their partnership was one of the most celebrated in operatic history. Though they fell out in 1930, they collaborated on a number of other works, including Der Jasager (1930) and Die sieben Todsünden (1933). Weill left Germany following the rise of the Third Reich and settled in the US in 1935, where he worked as a Broadway composer. Lady in the Dark (1940) and One Touch of Venus (1943) were both great successes, although an English-language Threepenny Opera was even more successful on its premiere in 1954, with his widow Lotte Lenya leading the cast as she had in the German premiere in 1928.
Nicole Jeannine Smith performs from Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act III, scene 3.
- David M. Jenkins – Director
- Jeremy Douglass – Music Director
- Alison Burns-Jackson – Choreographer/Associate Director
- Matthew Ray – Stage Manager
- Jennifer Casler – Bob the Saw / Ensemble
- Colleen Cherry – Streetsinger / Betty
- Spence Gabriel – Crookfinger Jake / Ensemble
- Amy E. Gray – Jenny Diver
- Jonathan Harrison – J. J. Peachum
- Chelsea Hooker – Rev. Kimball / Coaxer / Ensemble
- Chris Jackson – Macheath, “Mack the Knife”
- Fo’i Meleah – Celia Peachum
- Spencer Meyers – Streetsinger / Readymoney Matt
- Giselle Muise – Polly Peachum
- Maggie Mularz – Lucy Brown / Ensemble
- Derrick Phillips – Tiger Brown
- Alex Rivera – Smith / Walt / Ensemble
- Olivia Sargent – Dolly / Ensemble
- Katrina Stevenson – Molly / Ensemble
- Ryan Sturm – Filch
- Elwood Bond – Percussion
- Jarryd Dollard – Reeds
- Jeremy Douglass – Keys
- David Gambino – Reeds
- Mike Henry – Trombone
- Ava Kord Octlanch – Trumpet
- Steve Vought – Trumpet
- Mark Warren – Guitars
- Dave Cohen – Sound Engineer
- Ryan E. Finzelber – Scenic and Lighting Design
- Reuben Hirsch – Master Electrician/Light Operator
- Heather Krueger – Associate Director
- Katrina Stevenson – Costume Design
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