A Reading with Music
The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink
(Doubleday/Nan A. Talese – January, 2015)
Pamela Katz will read excerpts from her book, interspersed with several of Brecht and Weill’s signature songs performed by Karen Kohler accompanied by Benjamin Ickies. Karen will also perform some contemporary songs that owe a debt to Brecht and Weill.
In her book, THE PARTNERSHIP (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese), Pamela Katz vividly portrays the tempestuous collaboration between the renegade poet and playwright, Bertolt Brecht, and the gifted composer, Kurt Weill. They were the geniuses who created the theatrical and musical masterworks The Threepenny Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny amid the most turbulent years of the twentieth century. Unfolding within a broken society struggling to cope with what has passed — the Great War—and the Nazi threat to come, Katz’s intimate portrait not only illuminates Brecht and Weill’s volatile creative process, but also the spectacular Weimar Republic, the last burst of freedom before the darkness.
The magic of Brecht and Weill’s partnership was undeniable from the start: it began with the brilliance of their very first creation, “The Alabama Song, ” to the searing power of the “Pirate Jenny Song” and “Surabaya Johnny” But despite their fierce mutual respect for each other, the artists’ incompatible personalities made it impossible for them to inhabit the same room after only a few short years. Katz’s book portrays both the intense artistic process that transformed musical theater forever, as well as the tragic demise of the partnership that produced “The Moritat of Mack the Knife” in less than 24 hours.
PAMELA KATZ is a screenwriter and novelist whose most notable works are films made in collaboration with legendary director Margarethe von Trotta. These include Rosenstrasse, The Other Woman and most recently the internationally acclaimed Hannah Arendt which was selected as one of the New York Times' Top Ten Films of 2013. Katz teaches screenwriting at NYU's Tisch Graduate Film Program.
Internationally celebrated singer KAREN KOHLER is known for crossbreeding a range of musical styles – from European chansons, jazz and Delta blues to classical, rock-folk and cabaret. Winner of the Nightlife, Mac and Backstage Bistro awards for her decadent twists on multiple songbooks in five languages, Karen is the founding producer/director of the Kabarett Kollektif and Kabarett Fête. Her second album, Jam and Spice is dedicated to the songs of Kurt Weill.