The Theater: All Is Human

THE BEGGAR'S OPERA by JOHN GAY

Here they all are, the rogues, doxies, gin swillers, pickpockets and highwaymen of 18th century London, singing, swaggering and skylarking their way across the stage like an animated Hogarth engraving. "All is human," one of the characters says, and it is the swirling tide of recognizable humanity that has kept this play-with-music so buoyantly alive for almost 250 years.

In The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht refined the characters that Gay created, while Kurt Weill provided a tart and tangy score that is one of the marvels of the musical theater. The juice of art and life, however,...

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