OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU THEATER, MUSIC DEPARTMENT COMBINE FOR "THREEPENNY OPERA"

05/04/2004

CORVALLIS - Oregon State University's Department of Music and University Theatre are combining to present "The Threepenny Opera" in a six-performance run beginning on May 13 in the Withycombe Hall Theater.

The OSU production is based on the Michael Feingold translation of the 1928 original by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht and is closer to the original than other adaptations. The performance contains language and situations that some people may find objectionable; it is not intended for young audiences.

Performances are scheduled for May 13-15 and May 20-22 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $10 for general admission, $7 for seniors, and $6 for students. The performance on Friday, May 21, will be interpreted for the hearing impaired.

"The Threepenny Opera" is considered a classic. Based on an 18th-century ballad opera - The Beggar's Opera - it was modernized by Brecht to the Victorian era. It tells the story of the master of the London underworld, Mack the Knife, and his exploits, his gang, his womanizing, and his interactions with all kinds of people, especially the poor and unfortunate.

The joint OSU production has been two years in the planning. Charlotte Headrick serves as stage director, Tina Bull is music director, and George Caldwell is the scene and lighting designer. Other key coordinators include Richard Poppino, vocal coach; OSU students Tyler Mackie and Mical Sharp, costume designers; Michael Todd Backus, stage manager and assistant director; and Katie Burdick, assistant stage manager. Barbara Mason supervised the costume design process.

The 28-member cast is composed of OSU students, faculty and community members. Mr. and Mrs. Peachum are portrayed by OSU faculty members Richard Wagner (music) and Shirley King (foreign languages and literature). Conrad Buck plays Macheath, joined by fellow OSU music students Emily Tyler, as Polly Peachum; Stephanie Hower, as Jenny Diver; and Maria Carmichael, as Lucy Brown.

Brad Townsend, director of athletic bands, plays Tiger Brown, and Ethan Demarest is the street singer who belts out the famous ballad, "Mack the Knife."

Macheath's gang is composed of Jonathan Baltera (Walt), Bryan Alexanderson (Jack), Jared Mack (Matt), Dan Koza (Ed), Steve Becic (Jimmy), Brandon Robinson (Bob) and Brian Watkins (Sam).

Macheath's "ladies" include Helen West, Erin Winters, Casey Woodworth, Alexis Smith, Holly Marquandt, and Delaney Deaver. The beggars, police, and townspeople of Soho include Taylor Phelps, Abby Carlson, Robyn Deblock, Heidi Springer, Mark Sidell, Scott Ingham and Kimberly Reneau.

"The Threepenny Opera" includes opera and musical theater repertoire. In addition to "Mack the Knife," other familiar pieces are "Pirate Jenny," "The Jealousy Duet" and "The Soldier's Song."

Instrumentalists are Lisa Taylor and Tim Hatcher, wind instruments; Melanie Garrett and Melanie Zepp, trumpet; Ben Lawson, low brass; Becky Croco, keyboards; Sharon Rogers, strings; and Bob Brudvig, percussion. Bull is conductor.

Tickets will go on sale May 10 at the University Theatre box office in Withycombe Hall. For information, call 541-737-2784. The theater is located at 30th and Campus Way in Corvallis.