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UB Department of Theatre and Dance to Present The Threepenny Opera

By David Wedekindt

Release Date: October 31, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance will present The Threepenny Opera from Wednesday, Nov. 14, to Sunday, Nov. 18, in the Drama Theatre in the Center for the Arts, UB North Campus. Evening performances will be at 7:30 p.m. There will be matinee performances on Nov. 17 and 18 at 2 p.m.

The Threepenny Opera, written by Bertolt Brecht with music by Kurt Weill, will receive a full production with orchestra and will include newly designed and executed sets, lights and costumes. Vincent O'Neill will direct the production and Nathan R. Matthews will serve as the show's music director and conductor. Marlee Stoka will choreograph.

Set in Victorian London, the play focuses on Macheath, an amoral, anti-heroic criminal. After only knowing each other for five days, Macheath marries Polly Peachum. This displeases her father, who controls the beggars of London, and he endeavors to have Macheath hanged, but his attempts are hindered by the fact that the chief of police is Macheath's old army comrade. Still, Peachum exerts his influence and eventually gets Macheath arrested and sentenced to hang. Macheath escapes this fate when, in an unrestrained parody of a happy ending, a messenger from the Queen arrives to pardon Macheath and grant him the title of Baron.

O'Neill is the artistic director of the celebrated Irish Classical Theatre Company. O'Neill trained as a mime artist with the legendary Marcel Marceau in Paris. He became a member by invitation of the internationally celebrated Abbey Theatre Company, both as actor and director. He performed with the Abbey Company on tour at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, London, Paris, Philadelphia, New York, Hong Kong, the Bolshoi Theatre in Leningrad and the Moscow Arts Theatre. He has been a member of the UB faculty since 1990, where he is former chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, and currently director of theatre performance.

Matthews, UB associate professor of music theatre and director of music theatre, is the founding producing artistic director of New York's Riverside Opera Ensemble, where he has developed and produced new works of music theatre. Matthews served on the music staff of the Santa Fe Opera and has worked on Broadway, across North America and abroad with internationally acclaimed artists such as Dixie Carter, Mellissa Errico, Malcolm Gets, Mark Hamill and Anne Hathaway. In Western New York, Matthews has music directed/conducted at UB, the Irish Classical Theatre Company, the Kavinoky Theatre, Musicalfare Theatre and at Artpark. He also serves on the advisory board of the Amas Musical Theatre Company in New York City, a company celebrated for the development of new musicals.

The cast for The Threepenny Opera will be comprised of students from the UB Music Theatre and Dance programs. This production is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music Inc., New York, N.Y.