Mack is Back as Threepenny Opera with Cumming, Lauper and Co. Opens on Broadway

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20 Apr 2006

Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper in <I>The Threepenny Opera</I>.
Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper in The Threepenny Opera.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Alan Cumming returns to Broadway as "Mack the Knife" opposite Cyndi Lauper, Ana Gasteyer, Nellie McKay and Jim Dale in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of The Threepenny Opera which opens April 20.

Scott Elliott (Hurlyburly, The Women) directs the world premiere translation, adapted by Wallace Shawn. The show began previews March 24 at Studio 54 for a limited run through June 18. Aszure Barton choreographs.

A mohawked Alan Cumming (Cabaret, Design for Living) stars as the infamous Macheath opposite pop songstress Cyndi Lauper (as Jenny) and fellow recording artist Nellie McKay (Polly) with stage veterans Ana Gasteyer (Wicked, The Rocky Horror Show) and Tony Award winner Jim Dale (Barnum, Joe Egg) (as Mrs. and Mr. Peachum) in the work based on the original Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill classic musical Die Dreigroschenoper.

Set in London in the 1800s, the The Threepenny Opera concerns a notorious bandit who marries a girl, much to the chagrin of her father. The peeved patriarch does everything in his power to imprison his son-in-law in this political and social satire. Director Elliott stages the two-act scene-and-song show with a nod to Brecht's signature style. (Shawn can be heard in voiceover.)

Elliott posed "I think, ultimately, it's always ripe for revival because the message of Threepenny Opera is severe; it's about the corruption of humanity and how men can consume other men. One of the lines in the play is 'The world hasn't changed' and that's from when? And now, don't we still say that?" (For more from the director and cast members, read Playbill.com's feature "Ripe for Revival: Creators and Cast of Threepenny Opera Make the Musical Modern".)



"I tried to get a cross section of humanity really," director Elliott explained to Playbill.com. "In this instance, because they have to sing and dance and act, it's kind of like the cross section of the entertainment community. So it's a very diverse group of people."

Also in the The Threepenny Opera cast are Christopher Innvar (Les Miserables) as Tiger Brown, Carlos Leon (Aunt Dan and Lemon) as Filtch and Brian Charles Rooney (The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde) as Lucy. The ensemble features Adam Alexi-Malle, Terry Burrell, Brian Butterick, David Cale, Romain Frugé, John Herrera, Nehal Joshi, Christopher Kenney, Maureen Moore, Brooke Sunny Moriber, Deborah Lew, Valisia Lekae Little, Kevin Rennard and Lucas Steele.

The design team for The Threepenny Opera features Derek McLane (sets), Isaac Mizrahi (costumes), Jason Lyons (lights) and Ken Travis (sound). Kevin Stites serves as the music director.

Fashion personality Mizrahi previously collaborated with director Elliott on the Roundabout's revival of The Women for his Broadway debut. He also joins the stage director for the Broadway revival of Barefoot in the Park.

Roundabout had previously announced the work in June 2003 for the 2004-2005 season, but later bumped it from the lineup. The Brecht-Weill work will again see the Broadway stage for the first time since 1989 when former "The Police" frontman Sting starred in 3 Penny Opera.

Actor-playwright Shawn last appeared on stage in Elliott's Off Broadway staging of David Rabe's Hurylyburly. He is known for his turns in the films "My Dinner With Andre," "The Princess Bride" and as the voice of Rex in the "Toy Story" movies. As a playwright, Shawn's works include Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Designated Mourner and Marie and Bruce. His screen adaptation of the latter, starring Matthew Broderick, is forthcoming.

Founding artistic director of Off-Broadway's The New Group, Elliott directed the current Broadway revival of Barefoot in the Park, Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon for his company and the 2001 Broadway revival of The Women for Roundabout. Other credits include Three Sisters, Present Laughter, Kiki & Herb: A Coup de Theatre, The Women of Lockerbie, Comedians and Smelling a Rat. A one time performer, he appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables and Ain't Broadway Grand.

Tickets to The Threepenny Opera at Broadway's Studio 54, located at 254 West 54th St., are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300 or online at www.roundabouttheatre.org.