Contact: Alice Berry
TITLE: The Threepenny Opera
VENUE: University of Memphis, Mainstage, Theatre Building, 3745 Central Ave.
RUN DATES: November 8-10 and 15-17, 2012 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
TICKETS: $20 for adults, $15 for senior citizens and non U of M students; U of M
students receive a complimentary ticket
BOX OFFICE: 901-678-2576
Faculty and Staff Night at the Theatre for FREE – Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:30pm
The University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance is presenting Kurt Weill’s
and Bertolt Brecht’s scathing, groundbreaking musical The Threepenny Opera (3PO) on November 8-10 and 15-17th 2012. The production is being directed and choreographed
by Mark Allan Davis with music direction by Jacob Allen. They are bold faces of the
department’s shiny new BFA Musical Theatre concentration now entering its second year.
Brecht and Weill’s rollicking musical theatre classic has a bouncing jazz tinged score,
which combined with the savage beauty of Brecht’s lyrics, reveals a biting commentary
on bourgeois capitalism and modern morality. Set in the 1920s, this is the bittersweet
tale of Mack the Knife, a likable, emotionally bankrupt, murderous, anarchic sociopath
who finds redemption from the upper echelon of the society he abhors and within which
he and his gang perpetuate robbery, murder and other mis-deeds. The Threepenny Opera is at once funny, tragic and sincere.
Davis is a member of the original cast of The Lion King and a former performer with Bill T. Jones. He lived for more than a decade in Europe
where he was director of his own dance/theatre troupe Les Danses Dønsk in Munich while
staging several feature films (The Never-ending Story 3, The Parent Trap), Music Videos and teaching across Europe. “My career has been rather counter-clockwise-I
was teaching and choreographing then dancing and acting and now the order is irrelevant”
Jacob Allen, an accomplished musician, is the Musical Theatre Program Coordinator
at U of M. He is Resident Director at the Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio, where
his exuberant staging of Guys and Dolls was enthusiastically received. Mr. Allen also
appeared in six productions and is a scholar of European operettas and their influences
on the American Musical Theatre.
Both are committed and pointedly collaborating on the creation of a pulsating, edgy
take on this Weill/Brecht classic by emphasizing the biting and humorous social commentary
of Brecht’s Libretto as it blends with the dynamic evocation from the jazz colored
score and both elemental propensity for performer/audience self-effrontery. Brecht
and Weill’s epic view of theatre is receiving an unrelenting treatment by these two
young artists and professors of music theatre. Davis’ experience in Europe and on
the New York stage will be utilized to its fullest to blur this classic theatre work
into biting movement theatre with “epic theatrical” performances, riveting vocal performances
and an elegant visual acuity that is at once gritty and sincere.
Davis is also serving as dramaturge for this production and has excavated information
about early productions in Russia and Italy-adding to the compelling nature of this
University of Memphis’ production.
Jacob Allen holds an M.Mus in Opera Direction from the Eastman School of Music in
Rochester, NY and Mr. Davis an MFA in Dramatic Literature/Theatre from Smith College
in Northampton, MA.
PLEASE JOIN US IN NOVEMBER