Come join Macheath, Jenny, and the mischievous Peachum’s for an evening of greed and lies featuring an unforgettable score including “Mack the Knife” at Ohio University’s production of The Threepenny Opera, written by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Students from Ohio University’s Opera-Music Theatre and Wind Ensemble programs bring to life this story that focuses on the under-belly London’s lowest of the low. Opera you say? Don’t be dismayed, this production (translated in over 18 languages worldwide) is being performed in English! No “opera” experience necessary. Performances run only one weekend, April 27th and 28th at 7:30 p.m. so be sure to call ahead to Blackburn Memorial Auditorium (740-593-4244) to reserve your tickets. Partnered with Arts for Ohio, any Ohio University student with a valid ID will receive admission for free. Appropriate for ages 14 and up.
Set in Victorian London, the play focuses on Macheath (Christian Lindsay), a sleazy, antiheroic criminal. Macheath loves and weds Polly Peachum (Anna Grossman) which greatly upsets her father, who controls the beggars and whores of London. Out of spite he plans to have Macheath hanged. His attempts are unsuccessful because the Chief of Police, Tiger Brown, is Macheath’s friend from their Army days. Nevertheless, Peachum is too powerful and eventually gets Macheath arrested and sentenced for execution. Macheath flees the gallows mere moments in advance when, a messenger from the Queen arrives with comedic timing and a royal pardon and a title as Baron.
The Threepenny Opera is a work of epic theatre. It asks the question: “Who is the greater criminal: he who robs a bank or he who founds one?” The Threepenny Opera is also an early representation of what comes to be the modern musical comedy genre with music heavily influenced by jazz. The song “The Ballad of Mackie Messer” which appears both at the beginning and end of the show is the work’s most popular song, later translated into English by Marc Blitzstein as “Mack the Knife”. It became jazz standard that has been performed by Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé.