Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald to Star in Mahagonny at L.A. Opera

Classic Arts News   Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald to Star in Mahagonny at L.A. Opera
Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald, who most recently shared the stage in the Ravinia Festival's production of Anyone Can Whistle, will reteam for a Los Angeles Opera production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

LuPone, who recently received rave reviews for her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett in the hit Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, told, "I am doing Mahagonny . . . with Audra [McDonald] with the L.A. Opera in 2007, directed by Tim Robbins, conducted by James Conlon." The opera, which features the classic tune "Moon of Alabama," will feature LuPone as Mrs. Begbick, a madame, and McDonald as Jenny, a prostitute.

The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny was originally presented in Leipzig in 1930. In 1931 Lotte Lenya, Weill's wife, starred in a production in Germany. The opera was subsequently banned by the Nazis and did not play Germany again until the 1950's.

The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, according to the Kurt Weill Foundation, "begins with three criminals on the run from the law. They decide to found a city where people can do anything as long as they have money. Anything goes in Mahagonny : drinking, gambling, sex : and the town is soon populated by various kinds of hedonists. Two characters, Jenny, a prostitute, and Jimmy, a lumberjack, become lovers. . ."

A Tony Award winner for her work in Evita, Patti LuPone also earned an Olivier Award for her performances in the West End productions of L_s Mis_rables and The Cradle Will Rock. Her other theatrical credits include Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class, and Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo Broadway concerts, "Patti LuPone On Broadway" and "Matters of the Heart," and received glowing notices for her performance as Mrs. Lovett in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. She was seen last year in the Kennedy Center's staging of Marc Blitzstein's Regina, and this summer she will play Mama Rose in the Ravinia Festival's presentation of Gypsy.

A four-time Tony Award winner for her work in A Raisin in the Sun, Master Class, Carousel, and Ragtime, Audra McDonald was also seen on Broadway in Henry IV. The singer-actress made her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut in an evening of songs scored for big bands, performing several tunes from her Nonesuch CD Happy Songs. McDonald's other solo recordings, Way Back to Paradise and How Glory Goes, are also on the Nonesuch label. The acclaimed actress also co-starred in the NBC series Mister Sterling and was recently seen in the Ravinia Festival's production of Anyone Can Whistle.

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