Of course I know the name and the musical show, but had no idea how she looked and sang, or about the play, which was composed by Kurt Weill, who married, divorced and remarried Lotte Lenya. He also wrote September Song, from the 1938 Knickerbocker Holiday. here sung by Walter Huston.
The Beggar's Opera, (full 1 hour 34 minute BBC 1963 performance), and opens with a street musician--Bertolt Brecht, who wrote the lyrics--singing Die Moritat von Mackie Messer (DMVMV, more popularly know these days as Mack the Knife, here by Bobby Darin). That opening prologue is a ballad on murder, rape and more. The Darin rendition, which even Frank Sinatra indicated was the definitive version, used a 1933 American re-write (although other sources say 1976):
Here is Lotte Lenya singing DMVMV. She sort of looks like Carol Burnett, and kind of sings like her, too. Lenya won a Tony in 1956 for her same role as Jenny in an Off-Broadway version for The Threepenny Opera, the only time a non-Broadway show won such an award. The cast included Bea Arthur and John Astin. Six years later she was nominated for an Academy Award in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961). If you are fans of Vivien Leigh, a young Warren Beatty and Cleo Laine, this is a nice clip.
Mack the Knife, I close with some odd offerings:
- Bill Haley and the Comets
- Kevin Spacey, playing Darin (not bad at all, actually sung by Spacey)
- The Doors
- Bing Crosby
- Louis Armstrong