Friday, April 21, 2006

MargOH!'s The Threepenny Opera Review

Hey Kids,

I had a great time attending the revival of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weills "The Threepenny Opera". I think they may have admired the way that Scott Elliot staged this production. It is simply "Shock Value" all the way and I would not expect anything different. It's not always a bad thing to be shocked and sometimes Broadway needs a shot in the arm when other choices include another "Disney Production".

I take my hat off, or maybe my false eyelashes off, to Wallace Shawn for his daring take on the songs. I mean when's the last time you heard someone rhyme "China" with "Vagina" or "Pluck with Fuck". These moments are brilliantly delivered by the fabulous Ana Gasteyer (Mrs. Peachum) whose got a set of lungs on her Ethel Merman may have crumbled under.

The stark set with passing neon signs to stage the scenes is perfect. When you blend colorful costumes (Isaac Mizrahi), simple but clever choreography(Aszure Barton) and porcelain beauties like Cyndi Lauper and Nellie Mckay who needs things cluttering up the stage.

There is also a lot of absurdity added to pep up this sometimes heavy material. Scott Elliot had the space of Studio 54 in mind when adding in some vulgarity. He even threw in a scantily clad disco boy on a neon horse to deliver the queens message to pardon that low down dirty Macheath played scathingly brilliant by Alan Cumming. Cumming takes command in the song "Call from the Grave" even though at points he was straining with a shout. Somehow it seemed to work. I personally couldn't keep my eyes off of his other assets that were bulging through his tight fitting pants. Can I get a sample please Mr. Cumming....

Cyndi lauper who played Jenny had a fabulous Broadway debut. Using her wit and Brooklyn charm she comes across just the way you would expect, fabulously quirky. Her rendition of "Solomon Song" put the crowd into a trance and I did not want it to end. Bravo Cyndi!!

The fabulous Jim Dale played Mr. Peachum and he was just fantastic. His "Song of Inadequacy of Human Striving" was just special. He was just a plain hoot and I loved his polyester leisure suit. It made me long for another twirl around the old dance floor.

Nellie McKay as Polly Peachum gave a certain naivete to her role that reminded me of Judy Garland in "Strike up the Band". She gave it her all on the "No Song" and a simple but savvy "Pirate Jenny" were the high lights of the show for old MargOH!. Her scene with Lucy played by a man Brian Charles Rooney was comic genius for both of them. Though it did make me crave a glass of Gin I thought they had a charisma that was charming. Brian Charles Rooney added a definite twist as Lucy that included showing Polly and the audience what Macheath had been sampling, a cock. Cock on Broadway, I say thank god.

The ensemble cast of street trash, burglars, drug addicts and misfits were all played just fine but I expected a little more from them....Maybe a cat fight between NYC drag faves Edie, Flotilla Debarge and Hattie Hathaway but they really ended up just being window dressing for the stars.

All in all I think this production of "The Threepenny Opera" is worth a look see for its bold ideas and brilliant cast. It's about time we get a little glam, Gaul and gumption on what can sometimes be a dreary "Great White Way".

Cheers to the production of "The Threepenny Opera". Good Show!

Kisses, MargOH!

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