Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill literally revolutionized musical theater when they updated John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera" for the Berlin stage in 1928. They skewered the rich and glorified the poor with a Marxist twist: the worst villains, the most heartless exploiters of the poor are beggars and criminals themselves. Along the way, a cascade of songs that have become stand-alone standards: Mack the Knife, Pirate Jenny, the Cannon Song.
Not seen in Seattle for three decades, "The Threepenny Opera" is being staged by Seattle Shakespeare Company, directed by the company's artistic director, Stephanie Shine, from the 1950s Broadway adaptation by Marc Blitzstein. The leads are well-known to local theater audiences: John Bogar, a Shakespeare stalwart, plays the dapper thief Mackheath; Julie Briskman, last seen at the Village Theater in the title role of Ann Landers in "The Lady with All the Answers," plays Pirate Jenny (the role for which Lotte Lenya, wife of composer Kurt Weill, won a Tony in 1956).
If you go: Seattle Shakespeare Company presents "The Threepenny Opera" at Intiman Theater, 201 Mercer St., Seattle, Feb. 18-March 6. Performance times: Thursday-Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with selected Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2. Tickets are $15-$40 for adults and $15-$25 for seniors and students. (There's also a pay-what-you-will preview on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.). For reservations, call the Seattle Shakespeare Company box office at 206-733-8222 or go online, www.seattleshakespeare.org.