Skip to main content

... in the old Studio 54 space!!!

I had to start this... I mean Hattie will be perfection!

"The classic musical by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill returns to Broadway with an all-star cast.

Alan Cumming Tony Award winner Alan Cumming (right) is back at Studio 54, where he triumphed as the Emcee in Cabaret, to play Mack the Knife in one of the greatest hits to every shake up the world of musical theater. Joining the dream cast is Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Edie Falco (The Sopranos, 'night, Mother) and rising recording artist Nellie McKay. Scott Elliott, who recently helmed the off-Broadway hit Hurlyburly and this season's Barefoot in the Park, directs.

Welcome to the underworld of foggy London town. Here the cops are corrupt, pickpockets and prostitutes rule and Mack the Knife presides as the dapper prince of thieves. Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's mesmerizing homage to the seedy side of life returns to Broadway with a spectacular cast and a provacative new translation by Wallace Shawn (Aunt Dan and Lemon).

Take a walk on the dark side this spring at Studio 54!

"Previews begin March 24th..."
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I dunno how I missed this post, except that on March 17th I was pushing my way through hordes of drunken people wearing green, making my way to rehearsal for this on 45th Street!

My part is pretty small, but I am part of the chorus and do get to sing a bit in the finale-- which is what the "Opera" on the title is all about. I also have a rather hammy bit as one of Mr. Peachum's (played by the incredible Jim Dale) beggars which should please those familiar with my antics on the Jackie stage.

Here's a bit of fluff from the Observer:

BTW, at this party, I suddenly realized that the "Lite FM" DJ, Valerie Smaldone and I went to high school together, much to my horror.
Last edited by hatches
little bit of insider info... edie falco was originally supposed to play the role that cyndi lauper now performs... it was due to the soprano's filming schedule etc... i think cyndi was a better choice for the role, and from what i have heard so far, (from 8 of my b-way queen friends)... the show is great... (some will be going yet again to the show)... i think i'll be there next week hattie Smile
I hope this show runs forever. Or at least until all the awards organizations are depleted by Cyndi Lauper. I want to see Hatches retire to Fire Island or at least Sutton Place. And thanks for the Holland Tunnel tip, the only drawback is the tire marks over my Nikes and the two cops at the mouth of the tunnel asking for 'favors'.
Thanks for all your well wishes! I truly don't know if the show is completely sold out. I know the previews are. The "limited run" is through June with maybe an option for July. But who can say? We will just have to wait to see how the critics receive it on April 20th.

You know, I think it's very good. It's very hard to have a view of the entire play when you are in it. But I have (finally) come to the realization that the show is major in a whole lot of ways. And I am not just speaking about that it's Threepenny and Brecht and Weill. It's a lot of other things-- the direction, the staging, the orchestra (kind of Threepenny 1929 unplugged). And of course the individual performances. Some of the staging takes Brecht one step further-- into the 21st century. I think the audiences are polarized-- either loving it or hating it. We have even gotten a couple of boo's which in my mind makes it a success. And Brecht would be happy too!

It's funny Rob-- Carlos and I have become buddies. Who would have thought? He is fun to work with. And quite good. He is always willing to try stuff and has a wonderful expressive face. I am always kidding him that both he and I have rubber faces... it's true! And the two of us working with Jim Dale and Ana Gasteyer-- it's like going to the best acting school in the world!

Joey Arias came by the other night with Beat and it was great to hear his distinctive whoop from the audience at the funny parts!
Last edited by hatches
I have steeled myself for what passes as in-depth covereage of this show. This article is even beneath the level of The National Enquirer-- and this is the Times? Oy! The Post article was even better and that sucked!

Post Article

I guess I am now a "performance artist"-- who knew? Still, as long as they spell your name right...

Oh and Alan's pants are not leather, though they are tight. One of the sidebars of the hard copy of the article went on and on about them.
Last edited by hatches
I just saw the 3Penny play and really liked it. It seems people love it or don't get it or hate it. I enjoyed the casting of the play, I was really impressed with Jim Dale- what a adorable guy and his dancing, Alan Cumming is better looking in person, I love his smile. Hattie, you did a great job, you were right in front of my row on the left side. How is Nellie McKay and Cyndi to work with?
Why, thank you, kelly!
Jim Dale is amazing to work with-- and the stories he tells! Just a note: one of the dances he does (after "The Song Of The Inadequacy Of Human Striving", when Carlos, me and Tiger Brown and his mugs on stage right glide off) is a version of a dance that Jim's father taught him and was, in turn, taught by his father. Jim worked with Aszure Barton to incorporate it into the song. So, what you are seeing is a dance that has roots in the 1830's-- or even earlier! A dance that originated when people jumped up onto makeshift stages in boozy beerhalls...

Nellie is an absolute lunatic and lots of fun. We both recently bought ukeleles, so we are thinking of starting an all ukelele orchestra.

Cyndi is a jewel. She has such boundless energy that she gets me exhausted. And she has showed me a bit about the technical aspects of singing, vocal excercises and the scientific reasons for such-- a smart cookie! She has a bit of a Dietrich obsession-- which is very apparent from some of the costuming-- Isaac hooked into this when designing her look for the brothel. Don't forget, her first band was called "Blue Angel".

Yes, the show is a bit polarizing. I think a lot of people cannot get past the fact that everything is so non-gender-specific, and that Mackie sleeps with everyone-- male, female, T/G-- using sex as he uses everything else-- to gain power and control.
Last edited by hatches
Hello Hattie--I love Threepenny and have been a fan of it since I heard about it and bought the original Off-Broadway version with Lotte Lenya. As you can tell I'm such a theater quenn. Anyway I think the play is really cool but I can't believe that this is a limited run--this show need to be seen by everyone and should run longer than Phantom! Is there any word on a cast album for the rest of us unlucky enough to live in the sticks?
Unfortunately, there will be no cast album. Roundabout is non-profit and does not do soundtracks (Pajama Game was personally produced by Harry Connick Jr. his-self). The Weill Foundation seems to be focusing on the upcoming spectacular Klaus Maria Brandauer version at the Admiralspalast in Berlin this August, and surely doesn't want to glut the market. In addition to Cyndi's own label commitments, Nellie's contract problems with SONY only add to the confusion.

So this Threepenny will go the way of all true theatre-- and disappear the way the voice of Jenny Lind did.

I have to warn you, though, andreabicsotti... If you are stuck on the Blitzstein version from the 1950's, you most probably would not like ours. It is a new translation and adaptation, and probably truer in spirit to the original German text, profanities and all.
If, however you revel in onstage oddities, especially since they happens to rarely on Broadway, and understand that-- though Blitzstein's translation is excellent, it is but one of the many versions out there, you will appreciate.
I might also suggest you pick up the 1996 Domar Warehouse version on CD, for yet another brilliant take on this classic.
Well, hattie, I've read several other translations of Threepenny, and each of them are so different. And I'd heard that it was a new translation. It's unfortunate that it's not being recorded, however I'll look out for the Donmar version. I also have the German version. Great to hearit in it's original language. By the way, Hattie, who wrote the translation? Can you tell I love musicals and reading?
Wallace Shawn did the translation.

The 1954 Marc Blitzstein translation is the most well-known. He was an extremely adroit song lyricist and those versions have become part of the American musical theatre songbook. That version also propelled Lenya into a kind of superstardom-- well-deserved indeed. The question is, then why should Threepenny get perennially retranslated? The answer is that it is Brecht and Hauptman's text that seems to have suffered in this adaptation, done at a time when the political climate was not exactly conducive to frankness on the stage.

I am glad that you are familiar with a few versions. The Brecht Foundation, which oversees all things textual regarding his work, tries to hold fast to Brecht's belief that all theatre is a living, breathing and ever-changing thing, and gives the adaptors and translators a fair amount of leeway. The Weill Foundation, trying to preserve the score as a piece of classical theatrical music, is naturally not so adaptable... even down to having to approve the number of musicians playing the score and whether or not the songs may be transposed to fit 21st Century actors' voices. The two foundations are, as a result, often at odds about a production. Certainly a very interesting situation.

And though we will have no soundtrack, we will be documented by the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center, so perhaps one day you might go up there and see the show for yourself.
Last edited by hatches
1954! The Age Of McCarthyism! I was also reading the liner notes of the Blitzstein version, and they had to alter some of the lyrics that he translated. Another example of censorship, and I bet that they wouldn't have got played on the radio as much as they did. The "Mack the Knife" that was made popular through the like of Bobby Darin, Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald was Blitzstein's. I love Lenya too... and she also did Cabaret in the original cast, she played Fraulien Schnider! And there are many translations of the play, some with lots of profanity, which I love. Brecht was very blunt, direct and straight to the point. Have you readi Brecht's poetry, by any chance?
Oh yes, Andrea! And also his work with Hans Eisler, the composer of the national anthem of the DDR. Though I do find his work as a director the most fascinating... many things that we take for granted in the theatre today-- the "alienation effect", breaking the Fourth Wall, and the projections and signs, among many others, were truly ahead of their time.

This, from Solidarity Song, which was set to music by the Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin many years later:

"Forward, without forgetting
Till the concrete question is hurled
When starving or when eating:
Whose tomorrow is tomorrow?
And whose world is the world?"

Whose indeed?

And this, from "From A German War Primer":

"Amongst the highly placed
It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is: they have
Already eaten."
Last edited by hatches
Hey, Hatches, have you heard that meryl Streep and Kevin Kline are gonna do Mother Courage and Her Children Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre--and in Tony Kushner's translation no less! And also that Sweeney Todd's closing on Sept. 3...fabulous show, I saw it last May when I was down there, interesting productyion too. I was totally affected, like, literally shaking. Wish I had seen Threepenny though I really lobbied hard to ask my dad to see that but, what can you do, right? Money sucks, even Brecht would agree.
I believe that Mother Courage is being done as part of the Public's Central Park series next three weeks. It's free, but one must line up for tickets at The Public on Lafayette St. I have heard that the lines start forming at dawn, and I am not too sure I have the courage for that, mother!

I got to see a bit of Sweeney-- a medley-- at the TONY rehearsal... as well as say a few words to Michael and Ms. LuPone backstage... LuPone's Mrs. Lovatt is a totally different take from Angela Lansbury's... and I actually like it! Though Ms. Lansbury is an idol of mine (right, Daddy?) She raised a very high bar in the whole world of performance-- Jessica Fletcher notwithstanding. I just re-watched her "Manchurian Candidate" again on TV. WOW!

And speaking of films-- Flotilla recently gave me the DVD of the original BW film "Sweeney Todd" starring Todd Slaughter, and Stella Rho as Lovatt. Quelle Grand Guignol! And this is where Sondheim got the idea.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.