IU Theater & Dance’s Season of Return to in-person theater continues with Bertolt Brecht’s classic The Threepenny Opera. In 1928, after a year-long study of Karl Marx, Bertolt Brecht working with long-time collaborator Elisabeth Hauptmann, pens his first ‘play with music’ about a gang of thieves and grifters who “can’t have ethics that they can’t afford.” Based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, this darkly comic adaptation by playwright Simon Stephens pits lethal Macheath against both the entrepreneurial Peachums and the law itself. At odds with Macheath’s business and intimate endeavors, Peachum exerts considerable political influence to arrest and imprison the crime lord in a larger-than-life parable of amoral greed. Set to the libretto by Elisabeth Hauptmann and Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill’s music combines cynicism and hard truths with tuneful music including beloved standards such as “Pirate Jenny” and “The Ballad of Mack the Knife” to craft a biting satire of the post-war rise of European capitalism.
Helmed by third-year M.F.A directing candidate and IU musical theatre alum Jamie Anderson, The Threepenny Opera features faculty members Terry LaBolt (Music Director), DJ Gray (Choreographer), Leraldo Anzaldua (Fight Director), with intimacy direction by Samantha Kaufman. Anderson is also joined by M.F.A. candidates Valeriya Nedviga (Scenic Design), Brittany Staudacher (Costume Design), Lee Anne Meeks (Lighting Design), and undergraduate Grace Leckey (Sound Design).
The cast includes: Kevin Dolan (Macheath), Cynthia Kauffman (Polly Peachum), Robbie Russo (J.J. Peachum), Catherine Barker (Celia Peachum), Christopher Centinaro (Chief Inspector Tiger Brown), Casey Kwon (Jenny Diver), Tiana Williams (Lucy Brown), Shane Sholtz (Officer Smith), Devin McDuffy (Pastor Kimble), Noah Marcus (Charlie Filch), Michael Winner (The Balladeer). Ensemble members include Riley Frey, Kabir Gandhi, Kate Glaser, Jake Kline, Caroline Santiago Turner, Natalie Stahl, Luke Swaller, Malachi Watson, and Hannah Zeldin.