“As seen through the eyes of two 20th century geniuses, The Threepenny Opera is a revolutionary musical theatre masterpiece, first performed in Berlin in 1928. Brecht’s brittle, sardonic tale creates a world of beggars, thieves and prostitutes in the colorful, exotic musical saga of Mack the Knife, Polly Peachum and the gritty underworld of Soho. Weill’s jazzy, inventive score captures the ironic tone of the lyrics. Derived from John Gay’s 1728 The Beggar’s Opera, The Threepenny Opera creates a stunning, cabaret world that, eighty years after its premiere, remains an outrageous and cunning satire of society.”
“Yeah, yeah. ‘Mack the Knife.’ ‘Pirate Jenny. We know….”
But maybe you don’t know that Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill changed the course of musical theater. They brought agitprop to Broadway. Suddenly commercially produced singing and dancing could be used for biting social commentary. Suddenly it could actually mean something. It paved the way for Cabaret, Rent, Chicago and Urinetown. And any other musical that aspires to do more than just entertain.
And now the highly creative and talented Theatre Department at Santa Monica High School is performing it just for us locals. It runs for two weeks, starting February 24. Tickets are at samohitheatre.org.
(And, yes, of course we created the poster.)