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Opera North and West Yorkshire Playhouse join forces for Kurt Weill retrospective


Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, a journey through the life and songs of one of the greatest musical theatre composers of the 20th century, comes to City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds from 15 – 21 June.

This dramatic, compelling retrospective of Weill’s groundbreaking work, co-produced by Opera North and West Yorkshire Playhouse, brings together a motley crew of characters: the murderers, gangsters and fugitives who people some of Weill’s extraordinary catalogue of songs.

Set in the glamorous world of cabaret, this exhilarating tour of highlights from the Kurt Weill songbook, journeys from the smoky cafés of 1920s Berlin to the Broadway stages of the 1940s.  Numbers include 'Mack the Knife,' 'Pirate Jenny,' 'Alabama Song,' 'September Song,' 'Speak Low' and many more.

The show is brought to life by an ensemble of performers from Opera North with musical direction by former Head of Music Martin Pickard. Directed by one of the most inspirational figures in British theatre, Giles Havergal (Opera North’s Albert Herring, The Barber of Seville, The Merry Widow) the voyage begins in the smoky Weimar-era cafes of the 1920s in the company of The Threepenny Opera’s Mack the Knife and Pirate Jenny.

From another of Weill’s revolutionary collaborations with Bertolt Brecht, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, comes the gloriously debauched 'Alabama Song,' as covered by The Doors and David Bowie, while Weill’s American exile yields the beautiful, heartfelt 'September Song' and 'Speak Low,' both memorably recorded by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holliday among others, and part of Weill’s own chapter in the Great American Songbook.

Selections from Street Scene, with lyrics by Langston Hughes, fuse European opera, American musical theatre, jazz, and the sounds of post-war New York life a full decade before West Side Story. Numbers from Weill’s final work, Lost in the Stars, based on Alan Paton’s book Cry, The Beloved Country, show his powers undiminished at the time of his premature death in 1950.

Tickets for Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill are on sale now.

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