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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance

CANCELLED: The Threepenny Opera at Longstreet Theatre | October 2-10, 2015

Theatre SC will present the landmark musical masterpiece THE THREEPENNY OPERA, October 2-10 at Longstreet Theatre!


Theatre South Carolina

The Threepenny Opera

by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
English Translation by Robert MacDonald
Original German text based on
Elizabeth Hauptmann's German translation of

Directed by Steven Pearson
Musical Direction by Matthew Marsh

October 2-10, 2015

Longstreet Theatre
1300 Greene St.

Show Times:
Friday, October 2: 8pm
Saturday, October3: 8pm
Sunday, October 4: 3pm
Wednesday, October 7: 8pm
Thursday, October 8: 8pm
Friday, October 9: 8pm
Saturday, October 10: 3pm & 8pm

$12  |  Students
$16  |  USC Faculty/Staff, Military and Seniors 60+
$18  |  General Admission

Box Office: 777-2551
Or purchase in person at Longstreet Theatre.  Box office opens September 25. 
Box Office Hours: 12:30pm - 5:30pm, Monday - Friday

Josh Jeffers as Macheath (left) and Candace Thomas as Polly

The infamous Mack the Knife is back!

Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s satire of capitalist society took the world by storm when it premiered in 1928, and has been lauded ever since through such memorable productions as its legendary mid-1950s Broadway run, and its many now-standard songs (“The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” “Pirate Jenny”).  Set in a corrupt underworld of haves and have-nots, The Threepenny Opera pits the infamous gangster Macheath against the conniving Mr. Peachum, an unscrupulous business owner whose naive daughter, Polly, has secretly married Macheath.  The once-untouchable “Mack the Knife” soon finds himself on the run, as his new in-laws (and a jilted ex-lover) conspire to have him arrested…and hanged!  “The Threepenny Opera is the granddaddy of all the singing, stinging portraits of fat societies on their eves of destruction.” —  The New York Times.

Brecht and Weill’s play was itself a satirical update of John Gay’s 1728 The Beggar’s Opera, which lampooned the political, social and cultural mores of 18th-century London.  Director Steven Pearson says its timeless themes are even more resonant today, and have informed this production.

“Brecht was talking about the same things that are happening now, and even though the play is set in the 19th-century, it has a very contemporary feel,” says Pearson.  “It all keeps coming back, people wanting to cut funding that supports the poor, the discrepancies between the haves and have nots…  Really, nothing has changed.”

Threepenny is often cited as a prime example of Brecht’s style of what he termed “epic theatre,” which utilized a direct-to-the-audience approach to encourage self-reflection over empathy for the characters.  “[The play] was radical when Brecht first introduced it as a sort of anti-opera, anti-establishment sort of theatre,” Pearson explains.  “It has a sociopolitical bent which says, ‘Look at what is going on the country and in society, at thieves and beggars and the commodification of people.  Now, what do you think about that?’”

Clockwise from left: Carin Bendas as Lucy, Nicole Dietze as Jenny,
and Josh Jeffers as Macheath

Theatre South Carolina has welcomed NYC-based guest artist Matthew Marsh as musical director for the production, which will be scored largely with piano by Marsh and instrumentation by the actors themselves.  “It’s quite lean, more like a cabaret and a ‘play with music’ than the traditional musical style,” says Pearson.

The show’s cast includes second-year MFA Acting candidates Josh Jeffers as the notorious antihero Macheath, Benjamin Roberts as Mr. Peachum and Candace Thomas as Polly Peachum.   Also featured are second-year MFA Acting students Carin Bendas, Matthew Cavender, Nicole Dietze, Rachel Kuhnle and Dimitri Woods, as well as undergraduates Megh Ahire, Jamie Boller, John Romanski and Kerri Simmons.  Recent MFA Acting alum Melissa Reed returns to the Longstreet stage to take on the role of the show’s narrator.  Another recent alum, Jane Hearn, has returned to stage manage the show.  The seedy underworld of the production is being visualized by MFA designers Tamara Joksimovic (scenic design), Neda Spalajkovic (costume design) and Christopher Patterson (lighting design).  Sound design for the show is by Pearson.

Threepenny has social and political implications, but it’s also vastly entertaining,” says the director.  “There’s a sense of sharp irony that is quite funny and quite refreshing.  It’s satire of the highest level.”

“I don’t know if it will make people uncomfortable, but I do hope it will make them think.”

For more information about The Threepenny Opera or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at