Performing Arts Presents Happy End

There’s going to be a showdown when The School of Drama, Mannes School of Music, and School of Jazz and Contemporary Music take the stage together next weekend.

But no, the schools won’t be competing: Rather, the action will play out in the context of The New School College of Performing Arts production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s musical comedy Happy End.

The musical, which will be performed Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 1-3 at The Theater at the School of Drama, 151 Bank Street, centers on the chaos that ensues when the Salvation Army and a group of speak-easy gangsters collide in Roaring Twenties Chicago.

The performance marks one of the first collaborations between the three schools that comprise the College of Performing Arts, as well as the first time School of Drama has produced a musical.

“Although we haven’t previously produced a musical, music and dance are increasingly important components of a rigorous training program for actors and theater artists who need to be able to work across a wide variety of genres, styles, forms and expressions,” says Pippin Parker, dean of the School of Drama.

Happy End is a piece that supports significant student exploration from the acting and singing aspects, which is fundamental to the way we will be approaching music and theater at the College of Performing Arts,” he continues. “Additionally, the orchestral requirement of musicians is perfect for a meaningful collaboration with students from Mannes and Jazz.”

The production is directed by Lou Jacob, head of the MFA Directing program at the School of Drama. Gary S. Fagin is guest music director and conductor.

In rehearsal since the beginning of the semester, the MFA acting students from Drama, along with the undergraduate and graduate Mannes voice students, will portray the various characters. Instrumental music students from Mannes and Jazz will comprise the orchestra.

“It’s such a unique opportunity to collaborate on such a particular and rarely performed piece,” says Mark Puchinsky (Acting ‘17). “The challenges of Weill’s music, integrated with the complexity of Brecht’s text, have been a wonderful balancing act and a true artists’ workout.”

“Working on such a specific style of musical, different from any that I’ve done, has been a challenge and a gift,” adds Rachel Griesinger (Acting ‘17). “There is no doubt that Brecht and Weill’s work is still relevant in our society today, that the fight for justice and equality in 1919 [when the play takes place] is the same justice we are fighting for now.”

For tickets, call 212.279.4200 or visit www.ticketcentral.com.