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Talking Threepenny Opera With Lilli Cooper, Sally Murphy, Laura Osnes, and Mary Beth Peil

By admin, on April 5th, 2014, under Interview, The Threepenny Opera // No Comments

In their landmark musical The Threepenny Opera, authors Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht provide performers of both genders with a host of juicy roles. But it’s the female characters, namely Polly Peachum, Mrs. Peachum, Lucy Brown, and Jenny whom actresses can really sink their teeth into while plumbing great emotional depths. For her off-Broadway revival at the Atlantic Theater Company, director/choreographer Martha Clarke has cast four great actresses — Laura Osnes, Sally Murphy, Lilli Cooper, and Mary Beth Peil — in these storied roles. TheaterMania sat down with the quartet to discuss the enduring nature of a dark piece of theater that can somehow provide the most enjoyable experience.

Were you all familiar with The Threepenny Opera before you started?
Laura Osnes: No.
Lilli Cooper: I only knew the show from the reading I did with Martha Clarke a year ago.
Sally Murphy: I fell in love with it in high school. I got the record of the Lincoln Center production with Raúl Julia. I wanted to do it at Steppenwolf for years; it just never happened.
Mary Beth Peil: It’s pretty amazing [that I'm] my age and have not seen it.

Not having known the show going in, what were your reactions when you first heard it aloud?
Mary Beth Peil: I had no idea how beautiful it was and how rich a score it was.
Laura Osnes: It’s very unique. It’s music I’ve never really done or heard before. I was like, This is really strange and odd, but uniquely cool at the same time.

Sally and Mary Beth, you both go back and forth between plays and musicals. Is there a form you prefer?
Sally Murphy: It’s so much fun to mix it up. I had a few years of a lot of musicals and you get a little burnt out. But not having music, there’s really something missing…you really do start to long for it again.
Mary Beth Peil: I agree with Sally. When you’re doing one, you think, Oh, this is so great, and then you do the other, and it’s just a great privilege to be able to do both. But there’s nothing like hearing the orchestra warm up before you start. And an overture. You have to make up your own overture when you’re doing a straight play…It’s a much more communal feeling doing a musical.

Laura, you’re making your off-Broadway debut with this show. Was that a conscious choice at this point in your career?
Laura Osnes: It was a draw to do an off-Broadway show, to do a role completely opposite from what I just did. It’s fun because we’re back in an intimate space. Having the audience that close is very palpable and you’re forced to be living in the moment. I enjoy the communal aspect of being here and doing this. They get really amazing people to do these short off-Broadway productions. It’s fun to be downtown in a different neighborhood.

You all go to really dark places during the piece. Is that darkness easy or hard to turn off? How do you prepare?
Lilli Cooper: Getting into costume transforms me. My character is also pregnant, so having a pregnant belly is something that changes your movement and habits. There’s a moment before my first song where I’m standing on a ladder and I’m listening to “The Army Song,” and I have this incredible view of a brick wall and the shadows of all the men dancing. That image is so striking to me; it mesmerizes me in a way. That’s a really important moment I have before I start my story.
Mary Beth Peil: There’s something about the rigor of the language, because it’s been pared down to almost haiku storytelling. The rigor of getting it across in a very short amount of time, I don’t know if it’s a dark place exactly, but it’s a different kind of energy.
Sally Murphy: It looks dark; I mean, it is. But you can’t think of it that way. You can only be where your character is. I just listen to Michael and Laura sing the love duet. You just start to think of who you are and what you want at that point.

What is your favorite part of the show to perform?
Lilli Cooper: I love the “Jealousy Duet.”
Laura Osnes: That’s what I was going to say! It just feels like — Mary Beth has used this word and I’m stealing it — the slam dunk. It’s going to be a sure-fire hit.
Lilli Cooper: I remember the first time we sang it together, which was the first day that we met, and we finished the song and F. Murray Abraham (who plays Mr. Peachum) goes, “Hoooooooooorah!” And we were like, “Oh, I guess it works.”
Mary Beth Peil: I suppose I would have to say the most ridiculously fun and satisfying moment is interrupting Sally and Mac at the end of the first act. It’s like, Here is a piece of cake for you, sweetheart.
Sally Murphy: Before I sing “Solomon Song,” our genius, wondrously gifted ensemble is in a line behind a curtain during “Useless Song.” It is my favorite thing about the show. They’re all so singular and incredible. I find it really inspirational.
Mary Beth Peil: The reason we’re here is because of Martha Clarke and what she brings and what she does. Part of that are these four women and four men [in the ensemble]. How to describe what they do? Dancer, actor, performance artist, human creatures? They’re just brilliant. They set the high level of art.
Laura Osnes: They know Martha’s vision and how to capture it. We learn from them.
Sally Murphy: Every night.


Laura Osnes, and More Will Celebrate Shakespeare in Like You Like It Concert

By admin, on April 2nd, 2014, under News, Performance // Comments Off

Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes, “Glee” star Jenna Ushkowitz and “Dexter” and “The Following” actor Sam Underwood are among the performers who will celebrate William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday in a concert version of the award-winning musical Like You Like It, based on As You Like It and set at a mall in the 1980s, April 23 at 54 Below.

The 9:30 PM concert — held in advance of the upcoming studio cast album of Like You Like It — will feature a selection of songs and cut songs from the show, written by composer Daniel S. Acquisto and book writer-lyricist Sammy Buck.

Performers include Nick Cearley (The Skivvies), Hannah Elless (The Other Josh Cohen), Ben Fankhauser (Newsies), Noah Galvin (Burnt Part Boys, Love and Information), Nathan Johnson (Like You Like It at The Gallery Players), Bonnie Milligan (Jasper in Deadland), Osnes (Cinderella, Three Penny Opera), Molly Ranson (Carrie, Bad Jews), Kate Rockwell (Rock of Ages), Nic Rouleau (The Book of Mormon), A.J. Shively (La Cage aux Folles), Dana Steingold (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee national tour), Underwood (“The Following,” “Homeland”) and Ushkowitz (“Glee,” Spring Awakening).

Rounding out the cast are Sam Heldt, Elisabeth Ness, CJ Pawlikowski, Taylor Rathus, Chandler Reeves, Aaron Riesebeck, Emily Rogers and Patrick Shelton. Additional performers will be announced at a later date.

According to press notes, “All the world’s a mall in Like You Like It, a totally awesome blend of As You Like It and the John Hughes movies of the 1980s. The winner of Best Musical at the 2009 NY Innovative Theatre Awards for the lauded Gallery Players production and a festival favorite in the very first NYMF, Like You Like It has been performed extensively in regional theaters, festivals, colleges and high schools and is soon to be published by Playscripts, Inc.”
Like You Like It In Concert: Because It’s Totally Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday is produced by Shoshana Feinstein, directed by Tim Drucker and features music direction by Beth Falcone.

Buck and Acquisto’s other works include StinkyKids The Musical, The Frog & The Witch and Matthew Takes Mannahatta (book by Aurin Squire) as well as the solo show …And Then I Wrote A Song About It (book by Eric H. Weinberger). Their other NYMF shows together are The 7-Year B*tch and Andy Warhol Was Right and apart are Acquisto’s Wild About Harry (book by Susan DiLallo) and Buck’s Common Grounds (music by Doug Katsaros).

54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street. Tickets are $25-$35 plus a $25 food/drink minimum. For tickets, visit For more information, visit


The Threepenny Opera Extends Off-Broadway Run

By admin, on March 31st, 2014, under News, The Threepenny Opera // Comments Off

The Atlantic Theater Company’s production of The Threepenny Opera, featuring Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham and Tony nominees Laura Osnes and Mary Beth Peil, has extended its run at the Linda Gross Theater through May 11.

The revival of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s musical, featuring an English adaptation by Marc Blitzstein, began performances March 12, prior to an official opening April 7. It was originally scheduled to run through May 4.

Directed and choreographed by Martha Clarke, the cast includes Abraham (Mauritius, Angels in America), Sophie Bortolussi (Sleep No More, The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable), Jon David Casey (“Numb3rs,” A Perfect Wedding), Timothy Doyle (Fortune’s Fool, Salomé), Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening, Wicked), Rick Holmes (Peter and the Starcatcher, Spamalot), John Kelly (James Joyce’s The Dead, Dog Days), Lindsey Dietz Marchant (Then She Fell), Sally Murphy (August: Osage County, Fiddler on the Roof), Mary Beth Peil (Follies, The King and I), Osnes (Cinderella, Bonnie & Clyde), Emmy Award winner Michael Park (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, “As the World Turns”), Cristina Spina (Kaos, The Brothers Karamazov) and John Watkins (Sleep No More, “Son of a Hundred Maniacs”).

“Based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, The Threepenny Opera follows the charismatic scoundrel Macheath (Park) and his criminal exploits in 19th century London,” press notes state. “When Macheath marries Polly Peachum (Osnes), the straight-laced daughter of powerful, miserly merchant JJ. Peachum (Abraham), their unlikely union unleashes the chaos of manhunts, bribes, and imprisonment. In this ‘opera for beggars,’ an assortment of salacious characters maneuver for advantage, revealing a profoundly corrupt society.”

The Threepenny Opera features scenic design by Robert Israel, costume design by Donna Zakowska, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind, sound design by Clive Goodwin, musical direction by Gary Fagin and animal training by William Berloni. Casting is by Tiffany Little Canfield, CSA, Telsey + Company.

Two seats to each performance of The Threepenny Opera are available for the price of three pennies a piece through the mobile app TodayTix.

Visit for more information.


Laura to Perform with The New York Philharmonic on 7/24

By admin, on March 28th, 2014, under Appearance, News // 2 Comments

The New York Philharmonic will return to Bravo! Vail in Colorado for the Orchestra’s 12th- annual summer residency there, performing six concerts July 18-25, 2014. Music Director Alan Gilbert will conduct three programs, July 18-20, featuring works by composers for whom he has advocated during his tenure, ranging from Nielsen to The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Composer-in- Residence Christopher Rouse. The other Philharmonic concerts will be conducted by Bramwell Tovey (July 23 and 25) and Ted Sperling (July 24), and will feature works by Copland, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Loesser, among others. During this summer’s residency, the Orchestra will perform with artists sharing close ties to the Philharmonic as well as a musician performing with the Philharmonic for the first time: violinist Midori; pianists Yefim Bronfman, the Philharmonic’s Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence for the 2013-14 season, and Joyce Yang; Philharmonic Principal Oboe Liang Wang and Associate Principal Clarinet Mark Nuccio; and vocalists Victoria Clark, Laura Osnes, and Santino Fontana, the last of whom is marking his New York Philharmonic debut. The New York Philharmonic has performed at Bravo! Vail each summer since 2003.

Music Director Alan Gilbert will launch the Philharmonic’s 2014 residency with an opening night concert on Friday, July 18, featuring Nielsen’s Helios Overture; Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with Midori as soloist; selections from Grieg’s Peer Gynt; and Liszt’s Les Pre?ludes. On Saturday, July 19, he will lead an all-Beethoven program: Fidelio Overture and Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 5, Emperor, featuring Yefim Bronfman as soloist. Alan Gilbert will also conduct the program on Sunday, July 20, featuring R. Strauss’s Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks; Christopher Rouse’s Oboe Concerto, with Liang Wang as soloist; and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Overture-Fantasy.

Bramwell Tovey will return for his 11th summer with the New York Philharmonic at Vail to conduct two programs. The first, Wednesday, July 23, will feature Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man; Gershwin’s “Strike Up the Band” from Strike Up the Band; Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, with Mark Nuccio as soloist; and Grofe?’s Grand Canyon Suite. He will also conduct the residency’s final program, on Friday, July 25, featuring Shostakovich’s Festive Overture; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with Joyce Yang as soloist; Musorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain; Rachmaninoff’s arrangement of his own Vocalise; and Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker, and Marche slave.

Ted Sperling will conduct Broadway Night with the Philharmonic: The Music of Frank Loesser, Thursday, July 24. The program will feature vocalists Victoria Clark, Laura Osnes, and Santino Fontana performing songs from Guys and Dolls, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Most Happy Fella, Where’s Charley?, and Hans Christian Andersen.

Bravo! Vail was founded by John Giovando and violinist Ida Kavafian. Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott became artistic director in 2011, and James W. Palermo is now the president of the festival. All of the New York Philharmonic’s concerts will be performed in the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and will start at 6:00 p.m.
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Laura Osnes and More Set for Music Conservatory of Westchester Dinner Honoring Barbara Cook, 6/23

By admin, on March 28th, 2014, under Appearance, News // Comments Off

Music Conservatory of Westchester will take you from the greens and the courts to The Great White Way on Monday, June 23rd for its 13th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic at Whippoorwill Club in Armonk.

Following a day of fun competition, the not-for-profit community music school will hold a Broadway-themed awards dinner honoring iconic performer Barbara Cook and acclaimed conductor John Mauceri with lifetime achievement awards.

Stars from the stage will pay tribute to both honorees with a Broadway Revue starring Tony Award winners Cady Huffman (The Producers) and Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) along with Tony nominee Laura Osnes (Cinderella).

Craig Schulman, who has played both Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables and the title role in Phantom of the Opera will also perform, while Broadway veteran and lifelong Westchester resident John Treacy Egan emcees.

The event officially launches the Conservatory’s 85th anniversary. A gala event is planned for November at Pepe Infiniti in White Plains.

For information on sponsorship, reserving a foursome, and/or tickets to the Dinner/Broadway Revue, contact or visit


Laura to Teach Summer Masterclass at Boston Children’s Theater

By admin, on March 20th, 2014, under News // Comments Off

BCT is thrilled to announce that Broadway actress Laura Osnes is coming to BCT this summer to teach a Master Class for our Studio 4 students!  This one-day class will be absolutely amazing!!

Laura is currently starring in the Off-Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera, directed by Martha Clarke at the Atlantic Theater Company. She recently wrapped a yearlong run as the title role in the Broadway production of Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Drama Desk Award; Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League Award nominations). Other Broadway credits include Bonnie and Clyde (Tony Award nomination), which she also performed at the Asolo Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse, earning her a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Lead Female Performance in a Musical. She appeared as Hope Harcourt in the Tony-winning revival ofAnything Goes (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Astaire Award nominations), Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center’s production of South Pacific, and her Broadway debut as Sandy in the most recent revival of Grease. Other New York credits include Pipe Dream at Encores! and a one-night-only concert of The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall.  On television, Ms. Osnes has been seen on the CBS series Elementary, in the HBO pilot The Miraculous Year (written by John Logan and directed by Kathryn Bigelow), Sondheim: TheBirthday Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, HBO’s documentary Six By Sondheim, and the Kennedy Center Honors salutes to Barbara Cook (2011) and Dustin Hoffman (2012). Ms. Osnes made her cabaret debut at the Café Carlyle in 2012, resulting in her first solo CD, Dream A Little Dream: Live at The Carlyle. She quickly followed that appearance with an evening of Maury Yeston’s music at 54 Below, which led to her second solo CD, If I Tell You: The Songs Of Maury Yeston.

There’s still time to audition for Summer Studio 4. or call him at 617-424-6634, x221.  Don’t miss out!


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