Almost seventy years after its Broadway opening, Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner's Love Life receives its first fully staged, complete performance on the European continent in Freiburg, Germany, on 9 December 2017. (It has seen previous performances in England and a semi-staged presentation in Berlin.) The production boasts two prizewinners from the Lotte Lenya Competition: Rebecca Jo Loeb (First Prize, 2008) and David Arnsperger (Second Prize, 2010) in the lead roles of Susan and Samuel Cooper; Loeb and Arnsperger are both established performers in Germany. Book and lyrics are presented in a new German translation by Dramaturg Rüdiger Bering. Daniel Carter conducts; Joan Anton Rechi directs.
Freiburg presents not just a German premiere, but a version of the work that has never been heard before, the fruit of a new critical edition prepared by Joel Galand. The production serves as the first test drive for the forthcoming edition, offering an opportunity to refine it before publication. Galand's work, the result of years of compiling, studying, and comparing voluminous source materials, rests on scrupulous attention to detail combined with an eye to the overall structure of the show. His firm command not only of the musical and textual sources but of large swaths of secondary material, Broadway history, and the tenor of the times was on full display in the Spring 2017 issue of the Kurt Weill Newsletter.
An experimental, groundbreaking show at the time of its premiere in 1948, Love Life pointed the way to concept musicals such as Cabaret or the work of Stephen Sondheim. The show tells the story of a single family seen during successive eras of American history, chronicling the stresses brought by industrialization and political upheaval. The show alternates scenes of the Cooper family struggling with changes imposed by society with “vaudeville” acts, consisting of vocal soloists and ensembles, a magician, a puppet show, and even a trapeze artist. The combination of vaudeville, extended dance numbers, and an unconventional treatment of the book made for a new approach to the Broadway musical that had a respectable run in its day but whose true impact on musical theater was not felt for at least another twenty years. German audiences are getting a taste of Broadway history unlike anything they have seen before.
Learn more about Love Life
Originally posted: 1 December 2017
Last updated: 6 December 2017