The "Great Performances" telecast is scheduled for 9-11:30 PM ET; check local listings. A high definition DVD of the production will be released by EuroArts Music International Dec. 18.
Tony Award winner John Doyle directed Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, which featured McDonald as Jenny, LuPone as Leocadia Begbick, Anthony Dean Griffey as Jim Mahoney, Robert Wörle as Fatty the Bookkeeper, John Easterlin as Jake (Jack) Schmidt, Mel Ulrich as Pennybank Bill, Donnie Ray Albert as Trinity Moses, Derek Taylor as Toby Higgins and Steven Humes as Alaska Wolf Joe.
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. . ."
For more information visit www.pbs.org.