Photo Journal: Audra and Patti Make the City of Mahagonny Rich at L.A. Opera

Classic Arts News   Photo Journal: Audra and Patti Make the City of Mahagonny Rich at L.A. Opera
"Welcome to Mahagonny," says Los Angeles Opera's marketing blurb, "where sin is 'in' and love is always on sale. This Old West boomtown rises from the desert to become a razzle-dazzle mecca for lust, liberty, and the pursuit of pleasure. Cash is king ... and anything worth doing is worth overdoing."

We couldn't put it better ourselves.

(And gee, does the description remind you of anyplace?)

Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, by the epoch-making team of composer Kurt Weill and librettist/playwright Bertolt Brecht, opened Saturday night (February 10) at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in a Los Angeles Opera production. Starring are two paragons of Broadway royalty in their L.A. Opera debuts: Audra McDonald as Jenny, the enterprising whore who makes her way to the boomtown, and Patti LuPone as Leocadia Begbick, madam extraordinaire and Mahagonny's presiding spirit.

Joining Patti and Audra are Anthony Dean Griffey as Jimmy McIntyre, Robert W‹rle as Fatty the Bookkeeper, John Easterlin as Jack O'Brien, Mel Ulrich as Bank Account Bill, Donnie Ray Albert as Trinity Moses, Derek Taylor as Toby Higgins and Steven Humes as Alaska Wolf Joe.

L.A. Opera music director James Conlon conducts, and the show is directed by John Doyle, whose searing staging of Sweeney Todd won a Tony Award last year and whose production of Sondheim's Company is currently running on Broadway.

Mahagonny receives six more performances: on Valentine's Day (and really, what better date opera could there be?), Feb. 17, 22 and 25 and March 1 and 4. More details are available at

(We can't help wondering, though — Does what happens in Mahagonny stay in Mahagonny?)

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All photos by Robert Millard, courtesy of Los Angeles Opera.

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