The Beggar's Opera
The original text
Based on the story of the infamous British thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard, the play is a musical comedy about the love triangle between the highwayman Macheath, his fence's daughter Polly and the jailer's daughter Lucy.
John Gay's text uses music consisting largely of poplar tunes of the day, to which Gay adapted his own words. In the original production these were arranged and orchestrated by Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667-1752), who also composed the overture.
The original version was first produced in the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre in London in 1728.
Translations and adaptations
There was a London revival at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, produced by Sir Nigel Playfair, for which the music was freely rearranged by Frederic Austin.
Performance history in South Africa
1965: A production by CAPAB in 1965 was directed and choreographed by Louis Burke, with Joan Brickhill, David Holliday  and a large cast which included Fitz Morley, Paddy Canavan, Yvonne Bryceland, Frank Lazarus, Maggie Soboil. Musical direction was by Walter Swanson, decor by Bill Smuts, costumes by Joan Brickhill. This production was then taken to Johannesburg by Theatre International in 1966.
The Beggar's Opera theatre programme, 1965.
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