Performances began for the much-sought-after ticket on Aug. 8. Opening was Aug. 21.
Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Caroline, or Change) penned the new world premiere translation of the 1941 Brecht work, written while Brecht was in exile from his native Germany. Kushner's Caroline, or Change collaborator Jeanine Tesori has created original music for the show's several songs—audience-distancing musical interludes are staples of Brecht's mature works.
In the major work by Brecht, the canny, mercenary survivialist Mother Courage trudges through the Thirty Years War, switching alliances and carving out deals, while eventually losing all three of her children—Kattrin, Eilif and Swiss Cheese—through a jaded mix of capitalism, carelessness and callousness.
Streep had some good company in the production by New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater. Kevin Kline plays the role of the Cook. Austin Pendleton is the Chaplain.
Mother Courage's three unfortunate children were portrayed by Frederick Weller (as Eilif), Geoffrey Arend (as Swiss Cheese) and, as the mute Kattrin, Alexandria Wailes, the deaf actress who came to attention in Broadway's Big River and Off-Broadway's recent revival of Children of a Lesser God. Jack Noseworthy, remembered from the Broadway musical Sweet Smell of Success, portrayed various roles. Jenifer Lewis was the long-suffering tart Yvette.
Also in the cast were Raul Aranas, Max Baker, Ato Essandoh, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Glenn Fleshler, Michael Izquierdo, Eugene Jones, George Kmeck, Paco Lozano, Michael Markham, Larry Marshall, Sean Phillips, Silvestre Rasuk, Brittany Underwood, Jade Wu and Waleed Zuaiter.