Music by Kurt Weill
Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht and Michael
Feingold andIra Gershwin and Alan Jay
Lerner and Ogden Nash and Maxwell
Andersen and Marc Blitzstein and Jacques Deval and Paul Green and Langston Hughes
Text and Format by Gene Lerner
Lyrics by George Tabori and Arnold Weinstein

Berlin To Broadway With Kurt Weill | Revue, Rated PG | SMALL

  • About the Show

    BERLIN TO BROADWAY WITH KURT WEILL is a remarkable musical voyage through the career of one the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century.
    Kurt Weill's greatest theatre works are presented in a fluid blend of song and story spanning twenty eventful years, from Von Hindenburg and Hitler in Germany, where Weill became an outstanding theatre composer by the time he was thirty, to Roosevelt and Truman in the U.S. where he became a renowned citizen of his adopted country and a master of the Broadway musical. Along the way, he created some of the most popular and daring musical theatre pieces of his day, collaborating with a dazzling array of literary giants, including Bertolt Brecht,Langston Hughes, Maxwell Andersen, Alan Jay Lerner and Ira Gershwin, and blurring the boundary between "serious" and "popular" music.

    Synopsis

    ACT ONE

    The sounds of a pier are heard, lapping water, a dock creaking, a ship's whistle, gulls' cries. The "Sailor Tango" is heard as a steamer trunk covered with travel stickers from all of Weill's journeys is revealed. A gangway descends as the "Opening Medley" plays. As "Mack the Knife" begins, the Guide enters. The music stops and the Guide introduces himself and sets the scene: Kurt Weill has married Lotte Lenya and has begun his collaboration with Bertolt Brecht.

    Four singers enter the stage and THE THREEPENNY OPERA Sequence begins ("How to Survive – Part One", "Barbara Song", "Useless Song – Part One", "Jealousy Duet", "Useless Song – Part Two", "Mack the Knife", "How to Survive – Part Two").

    The singers exit and the Guide enters again. He takes an apron from the trunk and puts it on. The Guide introduces the HAPPY END Sequence as he is joined again by the singers ("March Ahead to the Fight", "Don't Be Afraid", "Bilbao Song"). As the music ends, the Guide flips a coin and asks the audience if love is worth the gamble – what if God is won in the toss? Is he your prize or punishment? ("Surabaya Sequence", "Don't Give Up the Ghost", "Childhood's Bright Endeavor") The Guide shoos the women away and joins the male singers in "Mandalay Song."

    The singers exit and the Guide takes off his apron. We come to the City of Mahagonny. The people are disillusioned ("Alabama Song", "Deep in Alaska"). The Guide enters and announces that a hurricane is headed towards Mahagonny ("Oh, Heavenly Salvation"). The Guide enters again in the guise of a Nazi, the singers, save the Mezzo, react mechanically, as if they are puppets. They sing "As You Make Your Bed" devoid of any human emotion.

    The Pirate Jenny Sequence begins with the Mezzo alone on stage and sings "Pirate Jenny." In the Paris Transition seqeunce, radio broadcasts in German, French, and English announce that the scores of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht have been burned by the Nazis and that Brecht and Lenya have safely escaped to Paris.

    The Guide introduces the MARIE GALANTE Sequence, moving the action forward six years. We are in Paris, where Jean Cocteau muses intellectually and Josephine Baker shakes her banana-clad hips ("I Wait for a Ship"). As the "Sailor Tango" ends, the Guide calls for passengers to board the S.S. Majestic for New York. Weill and Lenya say goodbye to the old world forever.

    ACT TWO

    As the lights dim, "Love Song" is heard. The Guide enters and welcomes the audience to the United States of America. It is September 10th, 1935. The Guide paints a picture of New York as Weill and Lenya saw it, then turns the story back over to the singers as a new kind of sound fills the stage ("Songs of Peace and War"). War in Europe is declared and people are enlisting to fight, but the glorious war to end all wars quickly turns to sorrow ("Hymn to Peace", "Johnny's Song").

    The KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY Sequence. It is October 19th, 1938. The Guide tells us we are at the Barrymore Theatre in New York City. The singers come on stage and question what it is to be an American citizen ("How Can You Tell An American?", "September Song").

    LADY IN THE DARK Sequence. The Guide enters. It is 1941, the year of Pearl Harbor and the fall of France. The question of American identity is answered by FDR, President of the United States – it is everyone who faces the future with confidence and courage. New York is introduced to a new spectacular: Moss Hart’s LADY IN THE DARK ("Girl of the Moment", "Saga of Jenny", "My Ship").

    The Guide opens the trunk wider. It is 1943 and Weill has taken the Oath of Citizenship, becoming a legal citizen of the United States ("Speak Low", "That’s Him").

    With two wars fought and won, the Guide enters into a shtick with the singers, then exits as the singers relive the Great Depression ("Progress"). STREET SCENE Sequence. It is 1947 and things are changing quickly on New York's Lower East Side ("Ain't It Awful, the Heat?", "Lonely House", "Lullaby").

    LOST IN THE STARS Sequence. The Guide recounts how Weill and Maxwell Anderson collaborated onLOST IN THE STARS after reading Cry, the Beloved Country ("Train to Johannesburg", "Cry, the Beloved Country", "Lost in the Stars").

    In the Love Song Sequence, the Guide tells of Weill's deteriorating health. It is April 3rd, 1950 ("Love Song"). The Guide closes the true as the music ends and sings "Happy Ending" as the singers join him on stage.

    Casting Information

    Cast Type: Ensemble Cast - Many featured roles, Showcases trained singers
    Dance requirement: None/minimal
    Casting notes: Note: actors should use their own names.
    Character Breakdown

    BARITONE Solo musical numbers include "September Song," "Over in Europe," and "Lost in the Stars."
    Male, 20-50 yrs old
    Range: Bb2 - G4

    GUIDE The tour guide through the life and music of Kurt Weill. He is helpful and informative but also speaks mysteriously and strangely wistful.
    Male, 20-50 yrs old
    Range: Bb2 - E4

    MEZZO Solo musical numbers include "Barbara Song," "Surabaya Journey," "Pirate Jenny," and "Saga of Jenny."
    Female, 20-50 yrs old
    Range: F#3 - Eb5

    SOPRANO Solo musical numbers include "March Ahead to the Fight," "Don't Be Afraid," "Don't Give Up the Ghost," "Childhood's Bright Endeavor," "I Wait for a Ship," "My Ship," and "That's Him."
    Female, 20-50 yrs old
    Range: Bb3 - A5

    TENOR Solo musical numbers include "Useless Song," "Deep in Alaska," "Hymn to Peace," "Johnny's Song," "Lonely House," and "Train to Johanessberg."
    Male, 20-50 yrs old
    Range: C3 - Bb4

    Production Material

    LIBRETTO
    VOCAL BOOK
    PIANO CONDUCTOR
    REED
    ALTO
    TRUMPET

Partners & Associates

  • cipc
  • bsa
  • samro