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By admin • March 12, 2014 • 0 Comments

Tonight is the first preview of Atlantic Theater Company’s highly anticipated production of The Threepenny Opera at the Linda Gross Theater. This production, directed by Martha Clarke is inspired by Weimar Berlin and uses the original Marc Blitzstein translation, which premiered in 1954 at the Theatre de Lys.

We were able to chat with Laura Osnes who stars in this production to find out what makes this revival so special. Make sure to read until the end to find out Laura’s advice for young artists, as well as how to get tickets for The Threepenny Opera for just 3 cents!

The road to the stage can be a long, but exciting process. There’s the first read through, rehearsals in a studio, tech week…what’s your favorite part?
Although tech rehearsals can be long and exhausting, I think that’s my favorite part because it’s so exciting to see all the elements come together. The costumes help further establish each character; the sets and lighting refine the storytelling; hearing the full orchestra truly sets the tone for the show. We finally get to experience that “theater magic” during tech week.

How do you like to prepare for a role? Are there things you always do to discover your character, or does it vary depending on who you’re playing?
It definitely varies depending on the show and demands of the role. For something like The Threepenny Opera, I read original, unabridged versions of the script and watched the G.W. Pabst-directed 1931 German film, Die 3-Groschen-Oper. We’ve also had several historical photos, books, and video clips available at rehearsal. For me, a huge part of discovering a character also comes from her relationship with other characters. Playing off what other actors give me in a scene, creating a true collaboration, and developing chemistry and trust with my scene partner is always good preparation for a role!

For those who have never seen a production of The Threepenny Opera, what can you tell us about your character Polly Peachum?
I knew very little about The Threepenny Opera before taking this role, so it’s been an exciting challenge learning about the show and creating my “Polly.” Polly is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peachum, who run a business for Beggars. Young Polly, eager for a more exciting and sophisticated life, falls for the seductively sly Macheath, who immediately marries her. Little does she know Macheath is a villainous crook, already married with several mistresses. Infuriated and jeopardized by their daughter’s marriage, Mr. & Mrs. Peachum threaten to have Macheath hanged, and a horrified yet heartbroken Polly encourages Mack to make a run for it, even agreeing to take hold of his criminal business. Polly’s initially perceived sweetness and naivety begin to fade as she exhibits leadership and fierce defense of Mack and her love for him throughout the rest of the musical, despite his multitude of sins. She is the only character motivated by something more than self-interest.

As you know, we’re working with Atlantic Theater Company to provide lottery tickets for the run of The Threepenny Opera for just 3 cents! What can a lottery winner expect to see from this production that’s different from other interpretations?
Martha Clarke, our director, has created a piece of theater unlike anything I’ve ever seen or been a part of. She is a visionary master. Known for her avant-garde, dreamlike creations, she’s like an artist, painting her work on the stage through movement and lighting. With her signature touch and this criminally talented cast, you can expect a uniquely dark, artistic, and evocative production, aiming to remain true to the time period and uphold the original intent of the German interpretation.

You’ve worked on so many wonderful productions and created such a wide and varied set of characters you’ve played, from Sandy to Bonnie to Cinderella and now Polly. What was it like putting together your own projects – your two CDs Dream a Little Dream: Live at the Café Carlyle and If I Tell You (Songs of Maury Yeston)?
Making an album is definitely a labor of love. Both of these CDs sprouted from solo concert performances I did here in New York, so I feel incredibly grateful that I have them both recorded for posterity’s sake! My Carlyle album is particularly special because it’s my story and all my favorite songs. The second album, If I Tell You, never would have happened without Maury Yeston’s outpouring of enthusiasm and generosity. However, doing the solo concert-thing is definitely more intimidating to me than performing in a show. I feel so much more vulnerable because there are no costumes or sets to hide behind, and no other actors to play with… Fortunately, I’ve learned to surround myself with wonderful collaborators who help me create my own projects and reassure me that I can do it. Interestingly enough, my musical director & pianist for both albums, Fred Lassen, is also musically directing The Threepenny Opera! He’s a big reason why I took the job!

With so many songs in your repertoire, how did you choose which ones to include?
Fred and I, along with Joe Langworth who directed my concerts, had long discussions about which songs to include. We started with a huge list and slowly narrowed it down as our vision and theme for each concert became more clear. We also considered which songs would sound best with the instruments we had.

You’ve proven to audiences again and again that you can do it all! What advice would you give to young artists who admire you and the amazing roles you’ve created?
Well, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m honored, thank you! I’m still learning every day from those around me, and I’m just trying to be as truthful as possible with every role that comes my way. I only went to college for a year, but I’ve found both training and experience to be so valuable. Keep training and learning; be an understudy, take ensemble roles and do them well so you are equipped to carry a show as a principle when the time is right! Be humble and patient. Remain true to who you are as a human and as an artist, because only YOU have specific gifts and talents that no one else has.

The Threepenny Opera is playing at the Linda Gross Theater March 12 – May 4. Click here to learn more about how to win tickets for just 3 cents through The 3PennyTix Lottery!

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