A Weill Ride: Neuwirth, Rees and Reinking Conjure a Mythic Lady in the Dark in Here Lies Jenny May 6-July 24

News   A Weill Ride: Neuwirth, Rees and Reinking Conjure a Mythic Lady in the Dark in Here Lies Jenny May 6-July 24
 
Here Lies Jenny, a new theatrical musical event starring Bebe Neuwirth and exploiting the sort of grit, longing and passions associated with the old songs of Kurt Weill, will play 36 performances at the Zipper Theatre in Manhattan this spring.
Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The new original piece, starting May 6, has choreography by Neuwirth's Chicago collaborator, Ann Reinking, and is conceived and directed by Roger Rees, Neuwirth's fellow actor from her days on "Cheers."

Leslie Stifelman handles music direction and music supervision for this new entertainment, which uses songs from Weill's German cabaret and theatre days, as well as tunes from when he was a Broadway composer (when he preferred his name to be pronounced "while" not "vile").

Rees (Nicholas Nickleby), Reinking (Chicago, Fosse) and Neuwirth (Sweet Charity, Damn Yankees, Chicago) are all Tony Award winners, now experimenting with this new work in relative obscurity below 42nd Street — and late at night.

Just as some of Weill's famous German songs explored low dives, whiskey bars and untested places, the collaborators find refuge — at 11 PM Thursdays-Saturdays — in the funky Off-Broadway performance space called The Zipper, at 336 W. 37th Street, onetime home to BETTY Rules.

Opening is set for May 27. Here Lies Jenny is presented by Maria DiDia, Kathryn Frawley, Hugh Hayes and Martin Platt and will play a total of 36 performances, through July 24. According to the announcement, "In Here Lies Jenny, a one-time saloon singer at the end of the line arrives at a bar that, like her, has seen better days. Clutching what's left of her life in a small canvas bag, Jenny is drawn inside the joint, at once foreign and painfully familiar. She finds herself singing along to the music playing – the soundtrack, strangely enough, of her life. Searching for something, someone, she seduces and rejects the bar denizens in her way. Through the music, Jenny relives the highs and lows of her checkered existence and finally finds a strength she didn’t know she had – the strength to face another day."

Several Jennys are featured in Weill musicals, including The Threepenny Opera and Lady in the Dark, though the new effort seems to want to expose a timeless persona, a mythic Everywoman.

Here Lies Jenny features the music of Kurt Weill and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, Roger Fernay, Ira Gershwin, Langston Hughes, Alan Jay Lerner, Maurice Margre, Ogden Nash, Franz Werfel and Kurt Weill.

The cast also features Greg Butler, Shawn Emamjomeh and Ed Dixon.

Designers are Neil Patel (scenic), Kaye Voyce (costume), Frances Aronson (lighting) and Tony Meola (sound).

Tickets range $35-$60 and will be available beginning April 2 by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or in person at the Zipper Theatre box office.

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