Poster for LoveMusik
|Basis||Lives of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya|
2016 Buenos Aires
LoveMusik is a musical written by Alfred Uhry, using a selection of music by Kurt Weill. The story explores the romance and lives of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, based on Speak Low (When You Speak Love): The Letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, edited and translated by Lys Symonette & Kim H. Kowalke. Harold Prince had read Speak Low and suggested the idea for a musical to Uhry. Uhry and Prince worked on LoveMusik for four years to develop it into a stage work. The story spans over 25 years, from the first meeting of Lenya and Weill as struggling young artists, to their popularity in Europe and America, to Weill's death from a heart attack at age 50.
The musical was produced on Broadway as a limited run by the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Biltmore Theatre beginning previews on April 12, 2007, opening on May 3, 2007, and closing on June 24, 2007. The show was directed by Harold Prince with musical staging by Patricia Birch and starred Michael Cerveris as Kurt Weill, Donna Murphy as Lotte Lenya, David Pittu as Bertolt Brecht and John Scherer as George Davis. The ensemble included Judith Blazer, Edwin Cahill, Herndon Lackey, Erik Liberman, Ann Morrison, Graham Rowat, Rachel Ulanet and Jessica Wright.
The production received mixed to positive reviews. It was noted for the performances of Donna Murphy and Michael Cerveris. For example, the Theatre Mania reviewer wrote: "Cerveris -- calculatedly diffident and consistently sympathetic as the dour Weill."Ben Brantley, reviewing for The New York Times wrote: "Two luminous, life-infused portraits glow from within a dim, heavy frame at the Biltmore Theater, where “LoveMusik” opened last night. This bio-musical about the marital and professional relationship of the German-born composer Kurt Weill and the actress Lotte Lenya, directed by Harold Prince, is sluggish, tedious and (hold your breath) unmissable."
A production of 'Lovemusik' has been confirmed for Japan for the 2009-2010 Japanese theatre season. This production will be translated entirely into Japanese. Masachika Ichimura has been cast as Kurt Weill in the Japanese production. No other casting or a theatre has been announced.
Productions, translated into their native languages, have been confirmed for Buenos Aires, Berlin, Budapest, Haifa, Madrid, as well as a planned production in London's West End. A production translated into Spanish played in Buenos Aires starring Elena Roger in 2016.
- Act I
In 1924, Weill is visiting a friend in Europe, and Lenya is sent to meet him. They are immediately attracted to each other and their subsequent romance and marriage follow the course of events in pre-World War II Germany. Weill collaborates with Bertolt Brecht, and the two write The Threepenny Opera, among other important works. But Brecht's ego and politics cause a rift, and the two part. Weill and Lenya divorce and later remarry. As the Jewish Weill becomes a popular and successful composer, Weill and Lenya are forced to leave Germany.
- Act II
Now in the United States, Weill has successful musicals produced on Broadway, such as Lady in the Dark, and also spends time in California. The couple have an open marriage – both have other romantic interests; and Weill is a workaholic. But they remain with each other until his death in 1950. Lenya, although devastated at his loss, is urged to return to the stage in Weill's The Threepenny Opera.
The musical uses songs written by Weill for stage musicals such as One Touch of Venus, The Threepenny Opera, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Street Scene, Knickerbocker Holiday, and Happy End, as well as individual songs.
LoveMusik (the world premiere recording) was recorded in July 2007 at Avatar Studios in NYC and was released on November 27, 2007 by Ghostlight Records (an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records).
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|2007||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Michael Cerveris||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Donna Murphy||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||David Pittu||Nominated|
|Best Orchestrations||Jonathan Tunick||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Book of a Musical||Alfred Uhry||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Michael Cerveris||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Donna Murphy||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||David Pittu||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreography||Patricia Birch||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Harold Prince||Nominated|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||Jonathan Tunick||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||Beowulf Boritt||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Judith Dolan||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Howell Binkley||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Design||Duncan Robert Edwards||Nominated|