College of Communication and Fine Arts Department of Theatre & Dance
The Threepenny Opera

Contact:  Alice Berry
(901) 678-3184
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” Davis said.  

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.


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Last Updated: 10/29/12