Theater: Salvation in a Gin Mill

Bertolt Brecht sought refuge in the U.S. in 1941 and went to Hollywood "to join the market where lies are bought." Happy End, a musical written in 1929, resembles nothing so much as an oldtime, screwball gangster movie. A rollicking revival staged recently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music has now been admirably transferred to Broadway's Martin Beck Theater.

The setting is purportedly Chicago, though all of Brecht's locales are exercises in exotic fantasy. The action is centered in Bill Cracker's gin mill. Bill (Christopher Lloyd) is very tough but no match for the...

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