Mackie Stays in Town: ACT Threepenny Extends to Oct. 10

News   Mackie Stays in Town: ACT Threepenny Extends to Oct. 10 The American Conservatory Theatre's revival of The Threepenny Opera starring Philip Casnoff and Bebe Neuwirth is such a hit in San Francisco, it's now extended to Oct. 10.
Bebe Neuwirth and Philip Casnoff in Threepenny Opera.
Bebe Neuwirth and Philip Casnoff in Threepenny Opera.

The American Conservatory Theatre's revival of The Threepenny Opera starring Philip Casnoff and Bebe Neuwirth is such a hit in San Francisco, it's now extended to Oct. 10.

Strong tickets sales and sold-out houses prompted the one-week extension, according to a spokesperson. It was to close Oct. 2.

Mack the Knife showed his teeth in San Francisco, in the form of Casnoff, Sept. 8, when ACT opened its production of the landmark collaboration between composer Kurt Weill and lyricist-librettist Bertolt Brecht. Previews began Sept. 2.

Casnoff has the choice role of Macheath in the 1928 German show, which has an English translation by Michael Feingold. A star-dotted cast includes Neuwirth (Sweet Charity, Chicago) as Jenny Diver and Nancy Dussault (Do Re Mi, Bajour) as Mrs. Peachum. (Malcolm Gets, of Off Broadway's A New Brain and TV's "Caroline in the City," was originally announced as Macheath, but left due to personal reasons.)

Casnoff is best known for his roles in Chess and Shogun: The Musical. He's also worked at the Public Theater, the Long Wharf Theatre and Circle in the Square. The ACT company also includes Lisa Vroman as Lucy Brown, Anika Noni Rose as Polly, Charles Lanyer as Tiger Brown, Dan Hiatt as Constable Smith and a 22-member ensemble culled from ACT's graduate acting program. There are currently no plans for the production beyond the ACT staging at the Geary Theatre, according to a spokesperson, although the stars are sure to earn the attention of some independent producers.

Threepenny Opera began the ACT season, which also offers the premiere of David Hirson's Broadway-bound comedy, Wrong Mountain.

Carey Perloff, artistic director of ACT, directs The Threepenny Opera, with choreography by Luis Perez, a former Joffrey Ballet Company member. English translation is by Michael Feingold.

The jazz-flecked yarn based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728), weaves a tale of lusty passion and political corruption and features classic songs such as "The Ballad of Mack the Knife," "Pirate Jenny," "Soldiers' Song," and "Tango Ballad."

Dussault, who appeared on Broadway in Do Re Mi, Bajour, Side by Side by Sondheim and as the Witch in Into the Woods, became nationally known for her role as Muriel on TV's "Too Close For Comfort." She'll play Mrs. Peachum opposite ACT actor Steven Anthony Jones as Mr. Peachum.

Ticket prices for added performances range from $16 to $60. Tickets for all performances are available through the Geary Theater Box Office, at 405 Geary Street. Call (415) 749-2228 or try www.act-sfbay.org.

-- By Kenneth Jones
and David Lefkowitz