Weill cabaret at Camden Opera House

Dec 26, 2012

Camden — Camden Stage Festival, the new professional summer festival of live theater and opera productions that will debut in 2013, is offering a one-night-only theatrical romp as way to round out 2012.

"Camden Stage Festival At The Cabaret" promises to take audiences on a thrilling musical tour of Kurt Weill’s greatest works, the best of prolific career through Berlin, Paris, Broadway and Hollywood. The entertainment will be followed by a festive champagne reception and cocktail hour. The extravaganza is set for Sunday, Dec. 30 starting at 4 p.m. at the Camden Opera House. The evening will be hosted by James Darrah, artistic director of the Camden Stage Festival, and features Edwin Cahill and Peabody Southwell, a dynamic duo of acclaimed Weill specialists.

Cahill made his Lincoln Center directing debut at the Juilliard Opera; appeared in the French premiere of Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene” at the Opéra National Toulon, France; made his debut in Brazil as director, pianist and performer of “Wir Sind New Yorkers!”, his own dramatic review of the life and music of Weill; and is creating the role of the Gentleman Caller in “Blue Roses,” the world premiere musical adaptation of “The Glass Menagerie.”  Broadway productions include the new musical about the lives of Weill and Lotte Lenya, “LoveMusik,” directed by Harold Prince; and the national tour of the Tony-winning revival of “Sweeney Todd.” Originally from Cape Elizabeth, Cahill lives in New York.

Southwell is reviving her critically acclaimed Long Beach Opera performance in the title role of Piazzolla’s “Maria de Buenes Aires” for Chicago Opera Theater as her debut for that company in its current season. She makes her LA Opera debut in 2013 under the baton of Placido Domingo in the world premiere of Lee Holdridge and Richard Sparks’ new opera “Dulce Rosa.” Also in 2013, she will be conducted by James Conlon in Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia” as a guest artist of LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. She made her Central City Opera debut in 2011 as Anna in Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins.” She made her role debut as Carmen in Brook’s “The Tragedy of Carmen” as a professional fellow at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and returned for Handel’s “L’Allegro, Il Penserosa” in a genre-bending production by husband Darrah. A finalist in the 2011 Lotte Lenya Competition, Southwell splits her time between Los Angeles and Camden.

Weill's early works show the influence of post-romanticism, expressionism, even atonality, but his early operas show the influence of jazz and popular music. He began working with Bertolt Brecht in the spring of 1927, setting the "Mahagonny" poems. The resulting hummable tunes and popular influence seemed calculated to shock the avant-garde; the charge that he had "sold out" to commercialism and abandoned art followed him thereafter. Later compositions such as “The Threepenny Opera” and “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” elaborated on his popular style. Weill's American career was as active as his European career. He had two major successes on Broadway: “Lady in the Dark” (1941, Moss Hart and Ira Gershwin); and “One Touch of Venus” (1943, Ogden Nash and S.J. Perelman). All together, he brought eight shows to Broadway and saw three other stage works produced in the United States.

“At the Cabaret” follows the engrossing relationship between composer Weill and his wife and muse Lenya, one of the greatest artistic pairings in modern history. Weill’s songbook includes the familiar songs “Mack the Knife,” “September Song,” “Moon of Alabama” and “It Never Was You,” as well as forgotten gems including “Berlin in Lights,” “Youkali — Tango Habanera,” “Nana’s Lied” and “Buddy on the Night Shift.”

All proceeds from the cabaret concert will benefit the inaugural 2013 season of the Camden Stage Festival, a new, groundbreaking professional summer festival of theater+opera productions in multiple venues throughout Camden in August 2013. Ticket prices are $50 for premium admission; and $35 for general admission, $20 for students older than 18 and $17 for younger students. Tickets may be purchased securely online at camdenstage.org/boxoffice or by calling

200-5922. Tickets will be available at the Camden Opera House Box Office on the day of the performance only. For more information, send email to boxoffice@camdenstage.org or visit camdenstage.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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