Sunday, Aug 26 @ 7:30pm  |  Tickets: $25

Moon Over Dark Street

A cabaret of Theatre & Song

By Bertolt Brecht  |  Music by Kurt Weill & Hanns Eisler

Moon Over Dark Street gears up with the jazz-hot tunes of Kurt Weill from such theatre classics as “Threepenny Opera” and “Happy End” and the wrenching ballads of Hanns Eisler. The production tracks the devastation of the Second World War and the McCarthy Era. Moon Over Dark Street travels from Berlin to Hollywood, offering songs of love, sex and agitation-with great resonance to today’s political scene!

“’Moon Over Dark Street’ aims for the moon and hits its mark.  The show is a kick-ass mix of songs that pair Brecht’s dark lyrics with the twisted tunes of Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler.”

“Like a top-shelf sipping whiskey, ‘Moon Over Dark Street’ starts off with a teasing bite and kicks in smooth and strong.”

“Belle Linda Halpern and Kermit Dunkelberg, in their solo turns, both perform with subtlety and panache.  And together they’re downright intoxicating.”

“From start to finish, Halpern and Dunkelberg render the music of both composers with confidence and finesse.  What makes the show a knockout, however, is the way they act the songs.”

  • Anne Marie Donahue, Boston Phoenix

 

“Listen to Halpern, a raven-haired sorceress of a warbler who can handle the heart tugs and knife thrusts of “Pirate Jenny” and “Surabay Johnny” … and Dunkelberg holds his own, particularly in tunes designed to grate at your conscience…”

“You can luxuriate in the bittersweet waters of the music, whose lyrical cynicism still refreshes….”

“’Moon Over Dark Street’ comprises tunes Brecht wrote with Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler:  the mood wafts from the curdled romanticism of the ‘Threepenny Opera’ and ‘ Happy End’ to the anti-Nazi polemics of the musical ‘Rise and Fall of the Master Race.’  The latter material is seldom done and carries a musty wallop.”

“Ron Roy is excellent, handling quirky, up-tempo arrangements…”

“Belle Linda Halpern is a buffo Brechtian belter…”

  • Bill Marx, Boston Globe

“Belle Linda Halpern inhabits Bertolt Brecht’s lyrics as if she had been there with him in Germany between the world wars.  It’s as if despair were informing her voice and making her yes go dead with pain…”

Kermit Dunkelberg spits out the words in English and German as if removing a bad taste in his mouth…”

“Director Kim Mancuso moves the performers between shadowy silhouettes and the spotlight to underline man’s anger and violence, shaped by Brecht’s sardonic observations a society that replaced morality with lust, greed and murder…”

  • Iris Fanger, Boston Herald

Pilgrim Theatre’s Moon Over Dark Street offers snapshots of the life and psyche of Bertolt Brecht in a cabaret-style production that included snippets from plays, songs written with Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler, and even a bleakly hilarious excerpt from Brecht’s 1947 testimony before the Committee on Un-American Activities.  Cabaret singer extraordinaire Belle Linda Halpern and Pilgrim Theatre’s co-founder (Brecht lookalike) Kermit Dunkelberg both flourished under pianist Ron Roy’s superb musical direction.”

  • David Frieze, New York Backstage

 

 

 

 

“If ever there were the perfect part for Dunkelberg this is it.  He spits out Brecht’s distain enunciating the German as if it were poison on his lips.  These are not pretty songs, the ones about loneliness and death, Dunkelberg knows how to deliver that chillingly flat sound that Weill loved to write for…”

“Halpern can handle that cold, hard sound which becomes all the more thrilling when her voice soars to the full, round high notes in ‘Pirate Jenny’ or the exquisite ‘Surabaya Johnny.’”

“When Dunkelberg signs auf deutsch and Halper auf English in duet, with the incomparable Ron Roy at the piano, their performance soars to the stratosphere!…

  • Beverly Creasey, Theatre Mirror (web)

“By far the main reason ‘Moon Over Dark Street’ works so well are the songs themselves, here performed with mesmerizing fervor by Belle Linda Halpern and Kermit Dunkelberg.”

Brecht’s experiences in Germany during the 1920’s-the Weimar years-and in Hollywood during the 1940s frame ‘Moon Over Dark Street,’ the intriguing and highly entertaining cabaret that …offers a thumbnail sketch of Brecht’s experiences in both countries as seen through his lyrics (to songs by Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler), scenes from this plays and his own words.”

“But ‘Moon Over Dark Street’ is mostly songs, and Halpern and Dunelberg perform them with razor-sharp precision.  Halpern, long one of this city’s most neglected treasures, looks striking and sings these compelling, often difficult songs with both clarity and beauty.  Wisely she gets to perform two of Weill’s best-known Brecht collaborations – ‘Pirate Jenny’ and ‘Surabay Johnny,’ which she doesn’t so much simply croon as act them out, allowing them to breathe dramatically.”

“The first-rate musical accompaniment is by Ron Roy, who captures the ambivalent beauty of much of the music with skill.  The simple look of the piece works well, as does Kim Mancuso’s adroit direction.”

  • Robert Nesti, Bay Windows

“Himself no stranger to the irritating power of propaganda, Brecht used a scratchy brand of theatrical polemics to keep his audiences alert and entertained.  Pilgrim Theatre director Kim Mancuso employs her own dramatic weapons to similar effect.  Her arsenal includes an unwavering focus on her two fine actors.  While Halper is the superior singer, Dunkelberg’s vocal rawness lends a kind of sinister vulnerability to the proceedings that is at once scary and affecting.”

“Moon Over Dark Street completes its arc in 90 fast-paced minutes and loosely follows the playwright’s journey from Germany into exile in the United states and back again.  The songs are ordered by a different logic, one that looks for themes with which to punctuate each ear, themes such as money (a devilishly gleeful “Nothing Quite Like Money”), death (“On Suicide”) and truth (“Solidarity Song”).”

“Pianist Ron Roy is a facile accompanist, nimbly negotiating the twists and turns of the mood and tempo.  The set, costumes and lighting are visual punctuation marks that neatly separate the moments.”

“There are, of course, many wayts to interpret Brecht’s work, and Mancuso has chosen to tread more lightly than some.  The result is an uplifting production with a mind of its own about Brecht, a mind gratifyingly shaped by Halpern’s sensuous intelligence and Dunkelberg’s deep reservoir of emotion.”

  • Vicki Sanders, boston.sidewalk.com (web)

“The production showcases the rich, powerful voices of Belle Linda Halpern and Kermit Dunkelberg and the talents of pianist Ron Roy – even manages to shake the dust off ‘Mack the Knife’ after a million McDonald’s commercials.”

“’Moon Over Dark Street’ leverages the music of Brecht to develop an impression of the writer’s mindset during the many stages in his life.  Halpern and Dunkelberg, in charming tandem, dramatize the music that spoke for the artist while pianist Roy shifts skillfully between songs and moods.”

“…a chilling torch song by Halpern, ‘Surabaya Johnny’, succeeds in drawing lyricism from disillusionment.”

“’Moon Over Dark Street’ serves as an entertaining, poignant introduction to the works of a man caught in the mid-century crosscurrents of history, and Brecht comes away looking like a survivor:  ‘Never go soft,’ Halpern sings as a surrogate for the songwriter.  ‘If there have to be kicks, I’ll be the one to give them and the kicked one will be you.””

  • Bille Eisele, South End News

Pilgrim Theatre’s Moon Over Dark Street, which ran through Nov. 22, offered snapshots of the life and psyche of Bertolt Brecht in a cabaret-style production that included snippets from plays, songs written with Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler, and even a bleakly hilarious excerpt from Brecht’s 1947 testimony before the Committee and Un-American Activities.  Cabaret singer extraordinaire Belle Linda Halpern and Pilgrim Theatre’s co-founder (Brecht lookalike) Kermit Dunkelberg both flourished under pianist Ron Roy’s superb musical direction.”

  • David Frieze, New York Backstage

Kermit Dunkelberg ( Actor/Singer/Co-Creator) is Managing Director and co-founder, with Kim Mancuso, of Pilgrim Theatre Research and Performance Collaborative, with whom he has performed in the US, Latin America, and Eastern and Western Europe. His work with Pilgrim includes the original production of Moon Over Dark Street in 1998, Letters from Sarajevo, Faust 2002, and Laura Harrington’s N (Bonaparte), as “N”, with Belle Linda Halpern as Josephine. He has also performed with Serious Play! in the title role of Milan Dragecevich’s Milosevic at the Hague on tour in Serbia, where he was the first actor to portray the former Serbian dictator onstage. He also recently played Clov in Serious Play!’s production of Endgame, by Samuel Beckett.  He has a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University, and works in a leadership role at Holyoke Community College.

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Belle Linda Halpern (Actor/Singer/Co-Creator) has performed as a cabaret singer in New York at Town Hall and the Ballroom; in Boston at the Copley Plaza and Club Cabaret; and in clubs and theatres in San Francisco, Paris, Munich, Jerusalem, and Bombay, with pianist Ron Roy. Belle’s theatre credits include work with Robert Wilson and Andre Serban at the American Repertory Theatre.  Each summer she sings cabaret concerts in the villas and castles of northern Italy.  A graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe, she performs in French and Italian and she has created and performed her own Yiddish cabaret.  Her roles include Esther in Elizabeth Swados’ rock opera Esther and Alice in her Alice in Concert and Josephine in Laura Harrington’s N(Bonaparte) with Kermit Dunkelberg and Kim Mancuso. As a cabaret singer she has been hailed as “Boston’s best singing actor.” With her theater background, she teaches Leadership and Authentic Presence to low income school leaders through Inspiring Educators, a non-profit she founded (www.inspiringeducators.org) She teaches singing and performance regularly in Italy through the Tuscany Project. (www.tuscanyproject.com).Her work is inspired by the generous spirit of her teacher, Martha Schlamme, to whom she dedicates her work on this production.

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Kim Mancuso (Director/Co-Creator) is a director, writer, actor training specialist and the artistic director of Pilgrim Theatre Research and Performance Collaborative, which she co-founded with American artist Kermit Dunkelberg in Poland in 1986. Previously she served as director of the International Company of the Second Studio (at the site of the former Teatr Laboratorum of Jerzy Grotowski) of Wroclaw, Poland. Most recently she co-developed, produced and directed Unforgettable: Letters from Korea with Susan Thompson, which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense (Korean War Committee) for the 60th Commemoration of the Korean War Armistice and performed at Arena Stage, and the National Mall at the Korean War Memorial site in Washington D.C. She also collaborated with SeriousPlay! in Milosevic at the Hague in Northampton, MA and Kragujevac, Serbia, performing the role of Mira Markovic, the wife of dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Pilgrim Theatre was named one of four Resident Companies at the Boston Center for the Arts and remained there for eight years, where they created a body of work and continued to develop their training style. They have received many awards including support from the NEA and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  The company has toured productions in Europe and Peru at international festivals. Her work with Pilgrim Theatre and Jean-Claude van Itallie is featured in Susan Letzler Cole’s book, Playwright in Rehearsal: The Seduction of Company (Routledge 2001). Kim has a taught at Smith College and Emerson University and currently Mancuso both teaches and directs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Theatre Arts program.(MFA Yale School of Drama; MA, New York University),

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Ron Roy (Pianist/Musical Director/Co-Creator) has worked as accompanist and teaching partner for the past 25 years with cabaret artist Belle Linda Halpern. He coaches beginners, amateurs and professionals, helping them to develop their own unique musical voice and style. Ron has traveled internationally as musical director and accompanist for a wide variety of shows and performers including Disappearing Act, Forbidden Hollywood at Steve McGraw’s and for the Chicago and Tokyo productions of Forbidden Hollywood; pianist and assistant conductor for the Gershwin musical Crazy for You (National Tour and Berlin, Germany); and pianist and musical director for Boston’s long running hits Forever Plaid and Forbidden Broadway.  He brings his ‘joie de vivre’, his exceptional talent and passion for music and song in working on a broad range of styles, from classical and opera, to pop, jazz and cabaret. Ron is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and on the faculty of The Tuscany Project, an annual voice workshop which takes place annually in Italy. In an earlier life, he toured with his own band Oasis, for which he was both musical director and arranger.