Johnny Johnson
Composer: Kurt Weill
Composer Bio: Kurt Julian Weill (March 2, 1900 – April 3, 1950) was a German-Jewish composer, growing up in a religious household. He began piano lessons at 12 and immediately began experimenting with his own compositions. His early success came with his non-stage works though he gravitated toward vocal music and musical theatre. He fled Nazi Germany in 1933, denounced for his socialist views despite being a popular composer. Traveling to Paris, London, and the US he eventually became a United States citizen in 1943. His ideals of writing music that served a socially useful purpose followed him in his travels and he wrote Down in the Valley and other songs in support of the American war effort. Weill died of a heart attack in New York City. His music is still popular sixty years after his death.
Librettist: Paul Green
Other Artistic Personnel: Lehman Engel, Music Director; Lee Strasberg, Stage Director; Donald Oenslager, Scenarist; Paul Du Pont, Costume Designer; Michael Gordon, Stage Manager
Original Cast: Original Broadway Cast: Luther Adler, Peter Ainsley, Kate Allen, James Blake, Roman Bohnen, Phoebe Brand, Grover Burgess, Jean Burton, Morris Carnovsky, William Challee, Lee J. Cobb, Russell Collins, Curt Conway, Jules Garfield, Judson Hall, Orin Jannings, Robert Joseph, Elia Kazan, Thomas C. Kennedy, Tony Kraber, Will Lee, Bob Lewis, Paul Mann, Sanford Meisner, Paula Miller, John Most, Ruth Nelson, Joseph Pevney, Herbert RatnerEddie Ryan, Jack Saltzman, Alfred Saxe, Susanna Senior, Art Smith, Eunice Stoddard, Albert Van Dekker
Premiere Date: November 19, 1936
Producing Company: Group Theatre at 44th Street Theater
Description: The time is 1917: A peace rally is interrupted by President Wilson's declaration of war. Johnny Johnson joins up and sails for Europe where he witnesses inhumanity in the trenches, befriends a German sniper, and seeks to promote peace. He releases laughing gas at a High Command conference and, disguised as a general, declares a ceasefire. Arrested, he is sent home to an asylum for the criminally insane where he creates a League of Nations for the inmates. He is lobotomized and set free after ten years. Now considered safe to society, he becomes a toy seller, refusing to stock military wares.
Reviews: Kurt Weill Newsletter, Alan Rich, Fall 1986; The New York Times, Clive Barnes, 4-12-71
Length: 01:00
Total Acts: Not Available
Chorus: Chorus
Orchestration: Reed 1 (cl, Ebcl, bcl), Reed 2 (cl, bcl, asax, barsax) - 2 tpt, tbn, Hammond org(pf), gtr (banjo), timp, perc - 2 vln, vc
Musical Style: Musical theater; popular songs; accessible melodies; parodies
Contact: Kurt Weill Foundation
Phone: 212-505-5240
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

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