Borrowing its title from Kurt Weill’s own autobiography, this revue show of Weill’s best-known and best-loved songs begins with his German cabaret days and features a generous amount of “The Threepenny Opera” in its Marc Blitzstein translation sung by well-meaning singers who are able to transmit pleasing pitch but little of the dark spirit and edge needed for these numbers. The foursome has better luck with “The Alabama Song” from “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, ” better known in America as a hit for The Doors, but here heard in its haunting, cabaret ensemble form. The revue is a bit more stingy in dealing with Weill’s Broadway shows, only offering a hit or two from each of them, although veteran show performer Brian Herriott’s renditions of “The September Song” from “Knickerbocker Holiday” and “Speak Low” from “One Touch of Venus” are significant Act II highlights. The minimal narration and chronological rather than thematic approach of the show seem superfluous, and given Weill’s enormous significance in both pre-Nazi Germany and World War II America (he wrote on his citizenship application “American, formerly German” under nationality and stopped speaking German), there are more insights that could have been shared than sketchy biographical details. Still, hearing so much Weill across an evening makes this a worthwhile experience, even though such an approach makes you wish that Light Opera Works would just stage a full banquet of one of the full Weill works rather than tantalize us with well-prepared appetizers. (Dennis Polkow)
At McGaw YMCA, 1420 Maple Ave, Evanston, (847)869-6300. This production is now closed.