November 13 , 2010

Love Song

The Lives of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya


Noted historian of the Broadway musical chronicles the braided lives of two of the twentieth century's most influential artists

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For Ethan Mordden, the closing night of the hit musical, 42nd St. sounded the death knell of the art form of the Broadway musical. After that, big orchestras, real voices, recognizable books and intelligent lyrics went out the window in favor of cats, helicopters, yodeling Frenchmen, and the roof of the Paris Opera. Mordden takes us through…

For the first time, Ethan Mordden chronicles the romance of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya in Love Song, a dual biography that unfolds against the background of the tumultuous twentieth century, scored to music from Weil's greatest triumphs: Knickerbocker Holiday, Lost in the Stars, Lady in the Dark, Happy End, One Touch of Venus and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The romance of Weill, the Jewish cantor's son, and Lenya, the Viennese coachman's daughter, changed the history of Western music. With Bertolt Brecht, they created one of the definitive works of the twentieth century, The Threepenny Opera, a smash that would live on in musical theatre history. Weill, the jazz Mozart, was the creator whose work is backstage, unseen. Lenya, his epic-theatre femme fatale, was the performer who put the work into view. They heard the same unique music, but he gave it form while she gave it life. Love Song is ultimately the story of a great romance scored to some of the twentieth century's greatest music.

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