LOTTE LENYA | THE THREEPENNY OPERA (1956) Set of 2 oversized theatre photos by Zachary Freyman


New York: Bill Doll & Company, [1956]. Two vintage original 14 x 11″ (36 x 28 cm.) black-and-white double weight print still photos, one with modest creasing at two extreme edges, overall near fine. Both with stamp on verso of photographer Zachary Freyman. With a two-page mimeographed 1956 bio of Lenya.

The Threepenny Opera [Die Dreigroschenoper] had its world premiere in Berlin in 1928. With its text by Bertolt Brecht and music by Lotte Lenya’s husband Kurt Weill, it went on to be a great success. When Hitler came to power, it was immediately banned and held up as a prime example of cultural decadence, and worse. Before Weill’s untimely death in 1950, he had given composer Marc Blitzstein permission to create a new English language version of it. That version had its premiere off-Broadway in 1954, and it had a run of 96 performances at the Theatre de Lys. The show reopened a year later, and went on to play for 2,611 shows, only closing in 1961.

Lenya was an important element in the success of the show, in the role of Polly, which she created in Berlin three decades before.

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