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, Leeds from 15 – 21 June.

The glamorous world of cabaret is the setting for an exhilarating tour of highlights from the Kurt Weill songbook, 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.

Born in 1900 in Dessau, Germany, Weill was a prominent composer in Berlin in the 1920s and early 1930s, before fleeing Nazi Germany and settling in the United States. He collaborated with many of the leading lyricists and playwrights of the age, from Bertolt Brecht to Ira Gershwin, Alan Jay Lerner, and Langston Hughes.

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.

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.

As Weill’s scores are burned by stormtroopers in front of Berlin’s State Opera House and he and his wife Lotte Lenya are forced to flee Germany, the troubled years leading up to World War II are vividly sketched with selections from Johnny Johnson, which opened on Broadway in 1936.

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  from Leeds City Varieties on 0113 243 0808  or from Opera North on 0844 848 2720

For more information click here.

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