Paulina Villareal is about to take us on a journey through the stage works of the rabble-rousing son of a respectable Rabbi, darling of the German art scene of the 1900’s, a bespectacled and bald musical genius equally at home in the music hall and in the concert hall but uncomfortable in polite society.

His name, Kurt Weill. Paulina’s show: I’m Just a Stranger Here Myself.

In case you forgot the name, Mack the Knife might trigger your memory.

After penning Threepenny Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and Happy End, Kurt Weill had to get out of Germany one step ahead of the thugs who were starting to round up Jews.

By way of Paris, where he wrote Marie Galante, he and Lotte Lenya made it to New York, where Weill wrote over a period of ten years a handful of musical theatre gems…operas…musicals…

Weill took American Musical Theatre kicking and screaming into the 20th century long before there was a Bernstein or a Sondheim.

Petite, with a creamy mezzo-soprano that she can turn chanteuse in a heartbeat, Paulina has an in-your-face south of the border charm, but she can summon the hard edge needed to put across the lamentations of Pirate Jenny and the New York neurosis of the urban heroine of Lady in the Dark. 

Paulina will be singing all of that music and then some. 

Oh, did I forget to mention Kenneth Griffiths at the piano and Pat Linhart on the accordion?

I hope you get the picture: this is not your grandfather’s song recital but a theatrical-musical feast about to hit the stage for only one performance next week.

Mark your calendar: November 21 at 6:45 PM in the Cohen Recital Studio at CCM. Free admission. If I were you I wouldn’t miss it.

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