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'The Threepenny Opera' to Open
at UW-Eau Claire Feb. 28

RELEASED: Feb. 22, 2008

Threepenny Opera bannerEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department's production of "The Threepenny Opera" by dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill will open at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in Riverside Theatre. Additional evening performances will be presented March 1 and March 5-8, with a matinee performance at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 2.

Brecht and Weill transformed the old-fashioned opera and operetta forms to create the story, which blends bourgeois capitalism and morality to tell the story of Macheath (Mack the Knife), who secretly marries the daughter of an underworld boss. He is soon betrayed by his in-laws and shipped off to prison. After Macheath is freed by the police chief's daughter, he is betrayed once more by a prostitute and is sentenced to death. During his final hour, he manages a reprieve that provides a menacing finale.

A notable lyric in the play asks, "What keeps a man alive?" The answer: "He lives on others."

Director Terry Allen, professor of theatre, said the main idea of "what" in "The Threepenny Opera" is "living on others" and watching "how people use people."

The cast for "The Threepenny Opera" includes senior Hanna Elizabeth Agar, Westby, as Dolly; sophomore Christine Jo Alexander, East Troy, as Low-Dive Jenny; senior Melissa Jean Briggs, Cottage Grove Minn., as Lucy Brown; and sophomore Shane Capaul, Mayer, Minn., as Walt Dreary. Junior Holly Dow, Waterloo, is Polly Peachum; senior Chris Goltz, Marinette, is the street singer; junior Christian Krueger, Rochester, Minn., is Macheath (Mack the Knife); and senior Joshua Lang, Milwaukee, is Bob the Saw. Senior Sarah Lanners, St. Paul Park, Minn., plays Molly; sophomore Charlene Lucht, Greenville, is Coaxer; junior Tyler Morris, Stillwater, Minn., is Crookfinger Jake; senior Caitlin Nelson, Green Bay, is Mrs. Peachum; junior Edward Neve, DeForest, is Peachum; and senior Abbie Williams, Roberts, is Betty. Junior Brittany Gusho, Milwaukee, is Readymoney Magg, and junior Tim Jacobs, Hampton N.H., is Tiger Brown.

The pit orchestra members for "The Threepenny Opera" include senior Kristin Wood, Black River Falls, on keyboard; senior Jim Skaleski, Brookfield, on reed I; junior Brian Handeland, Minneapolis, Minn., on reed II; junior Heather Patton, Green Bay, on trumpet I; sophomore Ashley Vial, Green Bay, on trumpet II; senior Justin Verhasselt, Green Bay, on trombone; junior Austin Lynch, Eagan, Minn., on guitar and banjo; and sophomore Peter Elkin, New Richmond, on percussion. Sophomore Adam Lowe, Merrimac, is assistant conductor, and junior Emily Worzalla, Madison, is chorus master.

The production will include the sound of 1920s Berlin dance music and cabaret. The production has inspired such notable hits as "Cabaret," "Urinetown" and "Chicago." The show's opening song, "Mack the Knife," has been credited as one of the most popular songs of the century.

"The Threepenny Opera" is directed by Allen, with musical direction by Mitra Sadeghpour, associate professor music; choreography by Toni Poll-Sorensen, professor of dance; costume design by Mallory Prucha-Rishoi, an artist in music and theatre arts; and scenic and lighting design by Kevin D. Gawley, assistant professor of theatre.

Tickets, available at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727 or 800-949-8932, are $12 for the general public, $10 for those 62 and older and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, $8 for children 17 and younger, and $6 for students with a university ID.

-30-

KJ/NW

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