Bertold Brecht is most famous for his creation of this opus along with Kurt Weill who composed the score. They sold the idea to a friend in 1928 who produced it in Berlin, and it had a difficult success, especially once the Nazis came to power. Brecht and Weill both left Germany before the war.
It is derived from an old neoclassical work, The Beggar’s Opera, and it’s most known number in English is Mack the Knife. The sets and costumes remind one of Cabaret. Michael Haverty and Bryan Mercer joined forces to direct the show, and it is quite a bit of work with a cast of 14 payers, live music on stage, and really good period costumes and makeup.
The story is set in London in the SOHO part of the old West End. It was in the days when that region was rife with brothels, street people, beggars, pimps, dealers and thieves. And it is there that we meet Mr. Peachum (Kevin Stillwell) who runs the panhandling business in the manner of the mafia. His daughter, Polly (Stephanie Lloyd) falls in love with Macheath, a/k/a Mack the Knife (Aaron Strand), who is not quite the gent that her parents would have her wed.
So what are they to do? Get the guy strung up. So, they rat him out to the coppers. But, Macheath has an edge, as he is buddies with the Police Commissioner, Tiger Brown (Adam Lowe); so as the Brit’s would say “Bob’s your uncle.” and you get a free pass. Mrs. Peachum is played in drag by Don Finney who is a hoot.
The show is about managing to survive life in lousy circumstances in days when the wrong crowd seemed to control everything. Remind you of anything going on these days? It should appeal to some politicians these days. For, as Tony Soprano would advise, “You gotta do what you gotta do.”
More info and tickets at 7Stages.org