Department of Theatre and Dance to Present "Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill"

By David Wedekindt

Release Date: January 8, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Department of Theatre and Dance at the University at Buffalo will present "Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: A Musical Voyage" on Feb. 21-25 in the Black Box Theatre in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Feb. 21-24 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 24-25.

"Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill," a musical revue with text and format by Gene Lerner, follows the remarkable life and music of German-American composer Kurt Weill. With lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Arnold Weinstein, Bertolt Brecht, George Tabori, Ira Gershwin, Jacques Deval, Langston Hughes, Marc Blitzstein, Maxwell Andersen, Michael Feingold, Ogden Nash and Paul Green, this dynamic, new production with orchestra, newly designed sets and costumes re-visits Weill's best-known masterpieces.

Encompassing more than 20 years of revolution, war and music, this revue follows Weill as a composer from his early collaboration with playwright Bertolt Brecht, through his escape from Nazi Germany, to his American career as the master of the Broadway musical. Including music from "Threepenny Opera," "Happy End" and "Lady in the Dark," among others, Weill's masterpieces are imaginatively restaged to highlight his enduring critique of modern life, love and politics.

This production introduces director Sarah Bay-Cheng, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Media Study, in her debut production at UB. An expert in modernism and performance, Bay-Cheng has staged plays by modern writers such as Sophie Treadwell and Gertrude Stein, and her work has appeared at the Michigan New Works Festival and on National Public Radio, among other venues. She is joined by musical director Nancy Townsend, whose career in music spans numerous works in both opera and musical theater. As pianist with the Metropolitan Opera National Council for 25 years, Townsend has worked with some of the world's finest singers, including Licia Albanese, Renee Fleming, Sherrill Milnes, Italo Tajo, John Alexander, Maureen Forrester and Rosalind Elias. Other companies with which she has worked include Opera Festival of New Jersey, Greater Buffalo Opera, and El Paso Opera, where she has been the musical assistant for the last 10 years.

Students in the music theatre B.F.A. degree program comprise the ensemble cast of Berlin to Broadway.

Tickets for Berlin to Broadway are $16 general admission and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Center for the Arts Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations, including Kaufmann's. To charge tickets, call 852-5000; in Canada, call 1-416-870-8000. For group sales, call 645-6771. For more information, call 645-ARTS. The Center for the Arts is a Ticketfast location. Students (of any school) must present valid student ID at the Center Box Office to receive discount.