Mack is BackGAMBIER, Ohio (October 7, 2008) Mack the Knife is back on the Kenyon stage for a three-night run of The Threepenny Opera, starting on October 16 in the Bolton Theatre.
The jazz-influenced musical by composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht celebrated the anti-hero and cast a light on the underclass when first staged in 1928. It remains "a hugely important piece of work," said director Jonathan Tazewell, Thomas S. Turgeon Associate Professor of Drama. "It really was revolutionary and its impact is still being strongly felt with some of the shows that are hot musicals now. Urinetown and Spring Awakening in some ways have the same kind of flavor."
The Threepenny Opera will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on October 16 and 18 and at 8:30 p.m. on October 17.
"This always is an incredibly interesting show to do, with musical elements plus a strong script," Tazewell said.
A cast with strong dramatic and musical skills and a talented production crew make a good fit this year for The Threepenny Opera. An influx of solid first-year and sophomore performers support the work of the veteran leads, including Nick Lerangis '09 of New York City, as Macheath. The love interest that propels the plot, Polly Peachum, is played by Kate Hamilton '09 of Columbus, Indiana. The music director and orchestra pianist is Jacob Yandura '09 of Dublin, Ohio, and Colleen McLellan '09 of Winchester, Virginia, is the choreographer. Reid Myers '10 of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the production stage manager.
As stage manager, Myers is responsible for organizing all aspects of the production. He's done the job on three plays and now tackles his biggest challenge, a musical with a robust cast of nineteen. "It's going to be a really fun production, a fun play, and we're doing really cool things with it," Myers said.
A hit from its opening night in Berlin, The Threepenny Opera was staged more than a hundred times around the world by 1933, when it reached Broadway in New York City. The musical opens with the enduring hit "The Ballad of Mack the Knife." Weill and Brecht owe a debt to The Beggar's Opera, a 1728 parody of Handel's operas written by John Gay.
The Threepenny Opera makes light of the high-society light operas of its time, Tazewell said. "It makes a big statement, in a lot of ways, about the darker side of regular life. It still has the same resonance for us. It still has the same poignancy. It's a dark comedy, with an anti-hero, sort of a charming guy. Everybody wants him to triumph in the end."
Tickets are $5.00 for general admission; $2.50 per person in a group; $2.00 for seniors, non-Kenyon students, and children; and $1.00 for Kenyon students. For information, visit http://www.kenyon.edu/x2133.xml or call 740-427-5546.