Gangsters and the Salvation Army settle scores in Victorian opera’s HAPPY END
Roaring with charisma, wit and a killer cast, Victorian Opera presents Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann’s anti-capitalist musical Happy End from March 23-26 at the Arts Center Melbourne’s Playhouse.
Premiering a year after their historic hit The Threepenny Opera, Happy End transports us to Chicago in 1911 and tells the unlikely love story of mobster Bill Cracker and Salvation Army Lieutenant Lillian Holiday. While exploring crime, salvation and alliances rare in free economies, Weill’s genius and captivating jazz style are on full display with the musical featuring some of his most iconic songs – “Surabaya Johnny” and “The Bilbao Song”.
Following their triumphant collaboration on Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs’ The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets (2017), this new production of Weill’s musical brings together director Matthew Lutton and musical director Phoebe Briggs. Set and costume designer Marg Horwell and lighting designer Paul Jackson are also returning to Victorian opera after their acclaimed work on the Green Room Award-winning Australian opera Lorelei.
Musical theater stalwarts Adam Murphy (Aladdin) and Lucy Maunder (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) star as Bill Cracker and Lillian Holiday respectively, co-starring again immediately following the season of Melbourne Theater Company’s Fun Home. Much-loved soprano Ali McGregor (A Little Night Music) returns to Victorian opera as mob boss The Fly while musical theater stars Kurt Kansley (Ragtime) and Euan Fistrovic Doidge (Fun Home) make their debuts in the company as The Governor and Sam Wurlitzer.
Rounding out the main cast are Hamish Johnston, Ben Grant, Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi, Jennifer Vuletic, Richard Pyros, Emily Burke and Olivia Cranwell. The set includes Benjamin Barker, Lachlan Bartlett, Alastair Cooper-Golec, Anne Gasko, Chiew-Jin Khut, Adam Lyon, Bridget Mylecharane and Anna-Lee Robertson.
On Happy End, Victorian Opera Artistic Director Richard Mills noted, “Brecht, Weill and Hauptmann’s fable of the unlikely alliance of the dispossessed Chicago gangsters and the Salvation Army speaks again to our contemporary world. . The harsh realities of difficult times are lifted with sardonic wit and wonderful songs.
Witness a rarely staged gem of the 20th century in the thrilling new production of the Victorian opera from Happy End!
Melbourne Arts Centre, Playhouse
Autonomy: 2 hours, plus an interval
March 23, 7:30 p.m.
March 24, 7:30 p.m.
March 25, 7:30 p.m.
March 26, 1:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tickets from $39
Reservations via www.victorianopera.com.au