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The Threepenny Opera

by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill; English translation of the lyrics by Jeremy Sams
Co-Produced by Silo Theatre and The Large Group; directed by Michael Hurst.
Auckland, New Zealand, 21 May-29 June 2008.

See our Threepenny Opera Photo Gallery.


Watch video of Michael directing a dress rehearsal of Jennifer and Roy Snow dancing and singing the Tango Ballad; and interviews with Peter Elliott and Amanda Billing.




Michael Hurst

Grant Winterburn   Musical Director
Marianne Schultz   Choreographer
John Verryt   Set Designer
Victoria Ingram   Costume Designer
Jeremy Fern   Lighting Designer

Paul Barrett   Narrator, Reverend Kimball, Constable Smith  

ENSEMBLE:  Keith Adams, Isla Adamson, Gabrielle Anwen, Helen Corry, Waimihi Hotere, Renee Maxwell, Stephan Maxwell, Charlie McDermott, Katie Scott, Elizabeth Tierney, Heather Warne, James Winter

MUSICIANS: Piano, Grant Winterburn; Woodwinds, Jeff Henderson, Lucien Johnson; Brass, Kingsley Melhuish, Lachlan Radford; Guitar, Nigel Gavin; Percussion, Chris O'Connor

Peter Elliott
  Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum  
Charlie McDermott
  Charles Filtch, Crooked-Fingered Jake  
Delia Hannah   Celia Peachum  
Keith Adams
  Matt of the Mint  
Roy Snow
Amanda Billing
  Polly Peachum  
Stephan Maxwell
  Chainsaw Bob  
James Winter
  Weeping-Willow Walter  
Cameron Rhodes
  Tiger Brown  
Jennifer Ward-Lealand
  Jenny Diver  
Waimihi Hotere
Elizabeth Tierney   Vixen  
Katie Scott   Police Officer  
Esther Stephens   Lucy Brown  




"BEST PLAY--THE THREEPENNY OPERA.  This tawdry, mesmerizing world of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's classic came to Maidment Theatre in Silo's mesmerizing and ambitious production, directed by Michael Hurst.  The huge cast, on-stage band and explosive finale made this the ultimate theatre experience for 2008.  Jennifer Ward-Lealand's intoxicating rendition of Mac the Knife is still ringing in our ears."

"BEST DIRECTOR--MICHAEL HURST.  The doyen of Auckland theatre can chalk up another cracker year.  Hurst helmed an exceptional production of The Threepenny Opera, and also tackled his first opera, Hansel and Gretel, for New Zealand Opera."

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Media and Reviews for The Threepenny Opera

Sunrise (video):  Michael was interviewed about Threepenny Opera on Sunrise on TV3.

ConcertFM (radio):  Jennifer was interviewed on Upbeat on Concert FM:  "I haven't been involved in, had that sort of theatrical process in a long time.  I found it really refreshing.  I mean, obviously I've been married to Michael for a long time, but I really watched him at work and thought, wow, you're just absolutely in your element.  He brings such intellectual rigour to his productions."

Metro: " . . . a mesmerising, ambitious production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's classic that feels freshly minted, an instant classic that sets a high benchmark for theatre this year. . . . a production that has all the qualities of a musical spectacular. . . . It is only June, but if I had money on it, The Threepenny Opera is already the theatre experience of the year."

New Zealand Herald: "Silo's production. . . opens with Jennifer Ward-Lealand, in Amy Winehouse mode, delivering a tortured Mac the Knife . . . The effect is absolutely electrifying - setting the tone for an edgy production, full of dangerous surprises, with moments of theatrical brilliance . . . The finale is a tour-de-force with Michael Hurst's innate sense of theatricality merging with a set design that has John Verryt at his exuberant best. Productions on this scale are a rare treat - the 27 member cast and a sizzling jazz combo have triumphantly revitalised a timeless classic. Go and see it."

National Business Review: " . . . a magnificent night of razzle dazzle theatre, set in a scary and ugly criminal underworld to wonderfully oompapa jazz. This may turn out to be the production of the year in this city."

Lumiere Reader: "(Threepenny Opera) asks some hard questions about violence, treatment of the poor and warns against oversentimentalising reality, and director Hurst doesn’t shirk from these ideas. . . . The deus ex machina ending . . . had me in stitches . . . It was brilliantly done and sounded the perfect satirical note to round off a satisfying theatrical experience. Go and see it, it's well worth it."

www.theatreview.co.nz: "This post modern deconstruction is in fact classic vintage Bertolt Brecht. . . . Then there's the music, where the heart and soul of the piece is expressed with explosive passion."

Listener: "From the opening bars of Weill's harshly beautiful introduction to the sharply satirical energy of the happy ending, the show is musically excellent. Billing's singing of Pirate Jenny is recklessly fierce, Snow and Rhodes' rendition of the Cannon Song tough and compelling, and the delivery by the company of What Keeps a Man Alive electrifying".