LoveMusik's Spark Dims June 24 at the Biltmore; International Life Expected

News   LoveMusik's Spark Dims June 24 at the Biltmore; International Life Expected "The curtain descends, everything ends," sing the lovers of LoveMusik in the haunting tune "Speak Low." On June 24, the curtain falls on the Broadway show, but a life abroad awaits.
Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy in LoveMusik.
Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy in LoveMusik. Photo by Carol Rosegg

LoveMusik, the unique musical biography that traces the relationship between composer Kurt Weill and his wife-muse Lotte Lenya, ends its limited Manhattan Theatre Club engagement June 24 at Broadway's Biltmore Theatre. The Tony Award-nominated production had major theatre stars attached to its creative team: Harold Prince, the legendary Broadway director, staged the enterprise, and Pulitzer and Tony Award winner Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) penned the libretto.

A commercial move on Broadway is not expected following the MTC run, but a cast album is in the works. Marty Bell, one of the attached commercial producers, told Playbill.com a production is scheduled for Japan in 2009-10, to feature Ichimura (a veteran of Prince's Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd) as Kurt Weill.

Negotiations are ongoing for LoveMusik productions in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Haifa, Budapest, Berlin and London, Bell said.

The show's varied score pulled from the catalog of Weill songs, including his "German" and "American" work. Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, Ira Gershwin, Alan Jay Lerner and more were heard.

By June 24, LoveMusik will have played 24 previews and 61 regular performances. LoveMusik had originally announced a June 17 closing date but was extended one week to June 24. The production earned Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical (Donna Murphy as Lenya), Best Actor in a Musical (Michael Cerveris as Weill), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (David Pittu as Brecht) and Best Orchestrations (Jonathan Tunick). LoveMusik began Broadway performances April 12 and officially opened May 3.

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The cast also boasts John Scherer (as George Davis), Edwin Cahill, Herndon Lackey (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade), Erik Liberman, Graham Rowat (Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Dr. Zhivago), Rachel Ulanet (King David) and Jessica Wright (2006's Company, 2005's Sweeney Todd).

Musical staging is by Patricia Birch (A Little Night Music).

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Suggested by the letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, LoveMusik features a book by Pulitzer and Tony Award winner Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy, Parade), "a full range of Kurt Weill songs," musical staging by Patricia Birch (A Little Night Music), and direction by 21-time Tony Award winner Prince (The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret and Sweeney Todd).

LoveMusik was billed as "an epic romance, set in Berlin, Paris, Broadway and Hollywood, spanning 25 years in the lives of this complicated couple."

Act One is called "Europe," and Act Two is called "America."

LoveMusik features the lyrics of Maxwell Anderson, Bertolt Brecht, Howard Dietz, Roger Fernay, Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Langston Hughes, Alan Jay Lerner, Maurice Magre, Ogden Nash, Elmer Rice and Kurt Weill.

LoveMusik is produced by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, artistic director, Barry Grove, executive producer) by special arrangement with Marty Bell, Aldo Scrofani, Boyett Ostar Productions, Tracy Aron, Roger Berlind/Debra Black, Chase Mishkin and Ted Snowdon.

The LoveMusik design and production team are Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Judith Dolan (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Duncan Edwards (sound design), Paul Huntley (wig design), Angelina Avallone (makeup design), Mark Simon (casting), Jonathan Tunick (orchestrations), Kristen Blodgette (musical supervisor), Seymour Red Press (music coordinator), Milton Granger (additional vocal arrangements), and Nicholas Archer (conductor).

Visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com for more information.

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The original musical uses songs from Weill's career in Europe and the U.S. to tell the push-me/pull-you 25-year love story, through courtship, marriage, divorce and painful compromise. Bertolt Brecht, Weill's famed collaborator on Threepenny Opera and other projects, is a major character here (played by David Pittu), as is Harper's Bazaar editor George Davis (played by John Scherer).

The musical is inspired by the book, "Speak Low (When You Speak Love): The Letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya," which Prince sent to his Parade collaborator Uhry. Prince, who directed Lenya in the original production of Cabaret, serves on the board of The Weill Foundation, suggested the letters were a good jumping off point for a musical.

"It's the first assignment I ever got I fell in love with instantly," Uhry told Playbill magazine. "Hal said, 'We've both been married a while, and we know that everybody's marriage is different and that whatever it takes to make it work, you do it.' He also said, 'I am assuming your marriage, like my marriage, is not quite as bizarre as theirs. I'd like you to write about long-lasting love, and I'd like it to be a play — with Weill songs. I don't want a revue.'"

After previews began, Prince did some weeding — a meandering overture was cut, as was a dance number, along with other judicious internal trims.

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The musical numbers in Love Musik, according to the opening night Playbill, were:

ACT I — EUROPE

"Speak Low" (lyric by Ogden Nash)
"Nanna's Lied" (lyric by Bertolt Brecht)
"Kiddush"
"Song of the Rhineland" (lyric by Ira Gershwin)
"Klops Lied (Meatball Song)"
"Berlin Im Licht" (lyric by Kurt Weill)
"Wooden Wedding" (lyric by Ogden Nash)
"Tango Ballad" (lyric by Bertolt Brecht)
"Alabama Song" (lyric by Bertolt Brecht)
"Girl of the Moment" (lyric by Ira Gershwin)
"Moritat" (lyric by Bertolt Brecht)
"Schickelgruber" (lyric by Howard Dietz)
"Come to Paris" (lyric by Ira Gershwin)
"I Don't Love You (lyric by Maurice Magre)
"Wouldn't You Like to Be on Broadway?" (lyric by Langston Hughes & Elmer Rice)
"Alabama Song" (reprise)

ACT II — AMERICA

"How Can You Tell an American?" (lyric by Maxwell Anderson)
"Very, Very, Very" (lyric by Ogden Nash)
"It's Never Too Late to Mendelssohn" (lyric by Ira Gershwin)
"Surabaya Johnny" (lyrics by Bertolt Brecht)
"Youkali" (lyrics by Roger Fernay)
"Buddy on the Night Shift" (lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II)
"That's Him" (lyrics by Ogden Nash)
"Hosannah Rockefeller" (lyric by Bertolt Brecht)
"I Don't Love You" (reprise)
"The Illusion Wedding Show" (lyric by Alan Jay Lerner)
"It Never Was You" (lyric by Maxwell Anderson)
"A Bird of Passage" (lyric by Maxwell Anderson)
"September Song" (lyric by Maxwell Anderson)

Rachel Ulanet, David Pittu, Ann Morrison, and Judith Blazer (kneeling) in <i>LoveMusik</i>.
Rachel Ulanet, David Pittu, Ann Morrison, and Judith Blazer (kneeling) in LoveMusik. Photo by Carol Rosegg