Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre returns to CSPS with a new production of The Threepenny Opera. Brutal and scandalous, yet humorous and hummable, with a notoriously happy ending, Bertolt Brecht’s revolutionary masterpiece is a landmark of 20th century theatre. Inspired by John Gay’s 1728 “Beggar’s Opera,” Brecht, together with composer Kurt Weill, fashioned a savage, biting commentary on bourgeois capitalism and modern morality. In the underworld of Victorian London, where beggars, thieves and whores openly ply their trades on the street, we learn of the love affair between career criminal Macheath and his fiancé, Polly Peachum, daughter of the King of the Beggars. But in a decadent society on the verge of chaos, the path of love is anything but smooth. Before long the lovers’ story is complicated by a torrent of intrigue, jealousy and corruption that sweeps up everyone in its path, from the Chief of Police, to Mackie’s former lovers, to the Queen of England herself. The dark, groundbreaking score by Kurt Weill ― one of the earliest and most successful attempts to introduce jazz into the theater ― features such popular hits as “Mack the Knife,” “Pirate Jenny” and “What Keeps Mankind Alive.”
Each performance of The Threepenny Opera will be preceded by a free, preshow talk by award-winning composer Robert Lindsey-Nassif.