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The Threepenny Opera


Fri 30 May 2008–Sat 21 Jun 2008, 7:00pm

Where: Maidment Theatre, 8 Alfred St, CBD, Auckland

Ticket Information:

  • From: $20.00
  • To: $50.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Elephant Publicity

Silo Theatre combines with The Large Group for their second production of 2008 with an epic story complemented by an epic cast of 27 when The Threepenny Opera heaves into glorious life.

Macheath (Mack the Knife), notorious bandit and womanizer, runs afoul of Jonathan Peachum when he marries Peachum's daughter Polly in a ceremony of doubtful legality. Peachum's resolve to have Mack sent to the gallows is complicated by the fact that Mack's old army buddy is the chief of police, Tiger Brown. Peachum and his wife commence a series of strategems to ensnare Mack . . .

With 25 years experience with the work, director Michael Hurst’s excitement surrounding The Threepenny Opera hasn’t waned since he played Crook-Fingered Jake in Theatre Corporate’s 1983 production. “I love the way the production has the ability to play with and tantalize audiences” says Hurst. “The Threepenny Opera is a riveting celebration of the artistic and political brilliance of the work of Bertolt Brecht.” Silo Theatre are also excited about returning to the work of Kurt Weill following their sellout 2006 season of Berlin which showcased some of Weill’s most biting political anthems.

One of NZ’s leading theatre practitioners Arts Laureate, Michael Hurst is keen to tackle a project of this magnitude, which is only one of his many 2008 theatre ventures. His plans to stage an epic Greek tragedy for 2009 Auckland Festival has recently made the shortlist of potential projects. Michael is also the director of NBR NZ Opera’s Hansel & Gretel which tours to 15 centres from June 29 and stars in Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Blackbird in September.

The massive ensemble of 27 actors and musicians that Hurst has handpicked for The Threepenny Opera include fellow theatrical mainstays Jennifer Ward Lealand and Roy Snow and the return to the musical stage of two high profile NZ actors. Boasting roles that include Fantine in in Les Miserables, Eva Peron in Evita, Florence Vassey in Chess and Grizabella in Cats; one of Australia's finest musical theatre performers Delia Hannah returns to the stage after a six year absence raising her daughter. Amanda Billing also makes her first stage appearance since starring in The Country Wife (2003) following her stint in the core cast of Shortland Street, where she has played Doctor Sarah Potts for the last four years.

The history of The Threepenny Opera is rich with variations, derisions and providing influences; from pioneering Verfremdungseffekt (alienation technique) and social critiques focusing on class struggle and morality to inspiring Big-Band tunes (“Mack the Knife”) and fringe theatrical works. Often cited as revolutionary by theatrical scholars, New Zealand has been no stranger to its appeal. Following its first Auckland production in 1970, the musical has returned to our shores in 1983, 1988 and 1992 – the past three outings starring Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward Lealand, whose knowledge of the production is undoubtedly vast and all encompassing.

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