For Immediate Release —Oct. 24, 2008
David Irwin
Media Relations Manager
(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo to Stage Classic Musical Theatre Production “The Threepenny Opera” Nov. 5-9

Threepenny.jpgGENESEO, N.Y. -- The School of the Arts and Musical Theatre Club at SUNY Geneseo are staging the 20th century musical theatre masterpiece “The Threepenny Opera” Nov. 5 – 9 in the Alice Austin Theatre in Brodie Hall. The Wednesday through Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. The Sunday matinee begins at 2 o’clock.

The counterculture classic by playwright Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill gives a political edge to old-fashioned opera. It has been translated into numerous languages and remains popular on stages around the world. The Geneseo production is directed by Dr. Melanie Blood, professor of theatre, with musical direction by Jack Johnston, former director of the School of the Arts.

“The original production was set in Victorian London but our version updates that fable-like setting from 1837 to a contemporary America, from Queen Victoria’s coronation to this country’s approaching presidential inauguration,” said Blood, who also is associate dean of the School of the Arts. “Since our production opens the day after the presidential election, we are working on the connections between the candidates’ platforms and the subject matter of the play. In this show, performers interact directly with the audience, they mix speech and song, and they step in and out of character in the process.”

The production features notorious gangster Macheath, or Mack the Knife, who fears no retribution for his many violent crimes, since his close friend Tiger Brown is Commissioner of Police. Macheath takes up with Polly Peachum, daughter of J. J. Peachum, who controls all begging rights and organizes street beggars to maximize their effectiveness – for a cut of the profits of course. Mack the Knife quickly realizes he has met his match in the elder Peachum.

These compelling underworld characters, originated by John Gay in 1728 after real life criminals, were recreated by Brecht and Weill in 1928 and audiences continue to be amused by how these low-life characters imitate and satirize legitimate occupations and relationships.

The score features several well known tunes, including “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” “The Army Song,” and “Pirate Jenny.” Senior Theatre/English major Danny Carroll plays Macheath, while senior musical theatre majors Aaron Netsky and Natalie Mack play J. J. and Celia Peachum. Freshman Chloe Holgate will portray the Peachum’s daughter Polly.

Other leading roles are Jenny (senior Sarah Rychlik), Lucy Brown (senior Norma Butikofer), Tiger Brown (junior Michael Radi), the Ballad Singer (junior MaryElisabeth Kimbark) and the Beggar Filch (junior John Gaspar). Policemen and a preacher are portrayed by Lucas Groth, Forrest Smith, and Devon Borowski. Gang members, whores and beggars fill out the chorus, played by Leora Bernstein, Chris Blasting, Katie Dana, Angelis Duarte, Chantel Helbig, Curtis Jones, Sean Miller, Ben Perry and Ashley Wool. Senior art studio major Kate Starcewski stage manages and the designers are faculty members Steven Stubblefield, Johnnie Ferrell, and Crystal Ferrell.

Tickets are available at or in the box offices in Brodie Hall and the Student Union. Tickets are $7 for the general public, $6 for faculty and staff, and $5 for SUNY Geneseo students. The Musical Theatre Club is part of the Student Association and is generously supported through mandatory student fees.

For more information contact director Melanie Blood at or SUNY Geneseo School of the Arts at (585) 245-5841.