Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Happy End 

Gangster movie meets musical theater in the back room at Original Joe's

Wednesday, Nov 23 2005
The back room at Original Joe's provides a suitably speak-easy setting for Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Happy End. Set in Chicago circa 1939, this gangster movie-style musical theater piece revolves around an unlikely romance between tough guy Bill Cracker and Lt. Lillian Holiday, a nice young lady from the Salvation Army determined to save the city's hoodlum soul. Michael Feingold's spunky translation fits seamlessly with Weill's sinewy melodies -- some of which, like "The Bilbao Song" and "Surabaya Johnny," have become standards of the repertoire. Erin Merritt's lolloping production lacks focus and rhythm in places, with peripheral conversations and movement occasionally distracting us from the main action. Yet the show is frequently engaging: Woman's Will's all-female cast members transform themselves with equal aplomb into gun-toting Mafiosi and devout God Squadders. The show also features a fun interactive sermon scene and some thrilling interpretations of Weill's songs; I've heard Bebe Neuwirth deliver the famous lyric "Take that damn pipe out of your mouth, you rat!" But as the conflicted Lt. Holiday, Lisa Jenai Hernandez does it better.

About The Author

Chloe Veltman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis
    January 14, 2015 was the first night of Trixxie Carr Presents: Maneater at Oasis in San Francisco. Photos by Calibree Photography.
  • No Pants BART Ride 2015 - NSFW
    The No Pants BART Ride commenced on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Participants rode without pants, and at the end of the ride they disembarked at The Mission to bar hop, eat burritos and take selfies. Photos by Richard Haick.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed