Smile Politely

U of I School of Music Opera Program presents The Threepenny Opera

From the press release:

With music by Kurt Weill and book by the famous German playwright Bertolt Brecht, The Threepenny Opera is a revolutionary part of the 20th-century musical theatre genre. Director Tom Mitchell, conductor Cara Chowning, and artistic director Eduardo Diazmuñoz present this wickedly funny story of betrayal upon betrayal, climaxing in one of the most unusual and hilarious finales in modern musical theatre.

Opening on August 31, 1928, in Berlin, it wasn’t long before The Threepenny Opera became a brilliant hit that would forever change the old-fashioned operetta form. The clever political perspectives achieved through Brecht’s ‘epic theatre’ techniques and jazz-influenced score, created an inspiring, new type of musical theatre. Some of the most popular and iconic songs from the musical include the show’s opening number, Mack the Knife and Pirate Jenny. After numerous, successful appearances in theatres across Europe and the United States, the music and story of The Threepenny Opera still entertains and captivates audiences all over the world.

Krannert Center’s English adaptation, by Marc Blitzstein, of The Threepenny Opera incorporates a contemporary, New York City-like approach that resonates well with the disappearing middle class concerns people faced during the Occupy Wall Street movement. Rick Calk, a senior acting major in Illinois Theatre, plays Macheath, commonly known as ‘Mack the Knife,’ a charismatic and likable man whose actions towards business and women make him seem like anything but a hero. Calk has specifically loved working with director Tom Mitchell whose leadership of the production has led to “hilarious and gorgeous” choices for those performing in this offbeat production.

The performances will take place in Krannert Center’s Tryon Festival Theatre on Thursday–Saturday, April 25–27, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 28, at 3:00 p.m. The opera is sung in English. Tickets are $8–$26 and can be purchased at the Krannert Center Ticket Office, online or by calling (217) 333-6280.

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