The Threepenny Opera OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • DAILY NEWS

  • TIME OUT

  • WSJ

  • AP

Opening Night:
April 7, 2014
Closing:
May 11, 2014

Theater: Atlantic Theater / 336 West 20th Street, New York, NY, 10011

Synopsis: 

Inspired by the art, style and sensuality of Weimar Berlin, legendary director and choreographer Martha Clarke joins forces with the Atlantic to breathe new life into the original Marc Blitzstein translation, which premiered in 1954 at the Theatre de Lys, now the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Threepenny follows the charismatic scoundrel Macheath and his exploits in 19th century London. In this “opera for beggars,” an assortment of characters maneuver for advantage, revealing a profoundly corrupt society and asking the question: Must one be a criminal to survive in this world?

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Threepenny Opera

    Dogs and Scoundrels, Well Dressed | Atlantic Theater’s Decadent, Decorous ‘Threepenny Opera’

    Charles Isherwood

    April 7, 2014: An English bulldog plays a minor role in the new production of The Threepenny Opera that opened at the Atlantic Theater Company on Monday. Romeo is his name, and he acts very naughty in the tableau that opens the show, slobbering away at the leg of a streetwalker who’s passed out flat on the ground. Still, Romeo is as cute as can be and looks as if he wouldn’t have a mean bite, even if, say, you slapped a tiara on his head and asked him to do his best impression of Queen Victoria. Unfortunately, this chic-looking but pallid staging of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s scabrous musical drama is also pretty toothless. Directed and choreographed by Martha Clarke, the production moves efficiently and with a stylish gait through the underworld of London thieves, beggars and whores scheming to get ahead in a cutthroat world. At just over two hours, with intermission, it’s certainly the thriftiest Threepenny Opera I’ve yet seen.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF The Threepenny Opera

    ‘The Threepenny Opera’: Theater review

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    April 7, 2014: It’s not a good sign when a show’s most memorable and colorful performance comes from the four-legged cast member. But that’s the way it goes for the Atlantic Theater Company’s anemic and sometimes tinny-sounding reboot of The Threepenny Opera. The production gets a lift any time Romeo, a charismatic English Bulldog, arrives to slobber at an unconscious beggar’s leg or in full coronation garb. At those times, you end up realizing that the rest of the revival — directed and choreographed by Martha Clarke — is so uninspired.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Threepenny Opera

    The Threepenny Opera: Theater review by Adam Feldman

    Adam Feldman

    April 7, 2014: Martha Clarke’s staging of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s 1928 The Threepenny Opera, a scabrous and disjointed work of epic musical theater, is almost perverse in its bloodlessness. This is, after all, the story of a killer: Adapted from John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, it tracks the gangster Macheath (a dapper Park), also known as Mack the Knife, through scrapes with sex and the law. (It is also a jaunty satire of capitalism—the show’s criminal syndicates are businesses, above all—and human treachery.) But Clarke approaches it as though wearing Macheath’s trademark yellow kid gloves.

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  • WALL STREET JOURNAL REVIEW OF The Threepenny Opera

    Theater Review: Mack the Butter Knife

    Terry Teachout

    April 7, 2014: Anybody who feels like sticking it to capitalism couldn't do better than to revive The Threepenny Opera, the 1928 Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill masterpiece whose murderous antihero justifies his criminal career by asking this pointed question: "What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?" By coupling such sentiments with a jaunty, sharp-cornered score that is equally indebted to early jazz and modern classical music, Brecht and Weill pulled the pin on a theatrical time bomb that has been going off at regular intervals ever since. Marc Blitzstein's English-language adaptation, which opened off-Broadway in 1954, ran there for six years, and The Threepenny Opera has since been mounted three times on Broadway. No pre-Oklahoma! musical has had a more enduring stage life—proof that U.S. theatergoers like nothing better than to be told what greedy bastards they are.

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW OF The Threepenny Opera

    Review: 'Threepenny Opera' Is Energetic, Fluid'

    Jennifer Farrar

    April 8, 2014: Mackie's back in town, and he and his fellow degenerates are serving up their anger and irony in The Atlantic Theater Company's energetic revival of The Threepenny Opera, which opened Monday night off-Broadway at the Linda Gross Theater. This fluid production of the famously sardonic musical by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill is directed and choreographed by Martha Clarke, with music direction by Gary S. Fagin. Weill's discordant, jazz-infused score is well-served by a brassy, bowler-hatted seven-member band led by Fred Lassen on keyboard.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Threepenny Opera

    The Threepenny Opera

    Zachary Stewart

    April 7, 2014: A notorious thief looks at his wife and says, "I'm thinking of going into banking, exclusively. It's safe and the takes are bigger." Like all of Bertolt Brecht's plays, The Threepenny Opera has a strong point of view when it comes to economics and society. It requires a director with an even stronger vision to carry Brecht's perspective into the 21st century. Unfortunately, director/choreographer Martha Clarke doesn't have one, or at least one that is readily visible in her revival at Atlantic Theater Company. While Kurt Weill's timeless music is still there, the blood is mostly drained from Brecht's words. The result is a boring two hours in the theater.

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