Best MusicalThe Threepenny Opera, New Line Theatre
Jill Ritter LIndberg Macheath’s gang celebrate the boss’ wedding.
Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera has everything you could want from a musical: a jazzy score, a diverse cast of shady characters and a ruthless compunction for wallowing in vice, sin and corruption. New Line Theatre mounted a savage production of the show that rubbed our faces in society’s filth and failings, and made us enjoy it despite the horrors on display. Threepenny is a sharp, cynical work that subverts your expectations at every turn, and the New Line cast embraced this ethos thoroughly. Scenic designer Rob Lippert built a grimy nocturne for them to play in, and the cast gleefully cheated and backstabbed their way through it. Familiar tunes such as “Army Song” and “Jealousy Duet” sounded fresh and intoxicating — so fresh that Brecht’s mordant lyrics were shocking all over again. Consistently surprising, eminently rewarding and endlessly fascinating, New Line’s Threepenny Opera was the show that set a new standard for St. Louis musical theater. http://www.newlinetheatre.com.