3Penny scene breakdown (Feingold)

Feingold’s THE THREEPENNY OPERA (1989)

Scene Breakdown

Prologue: Ballad of Mack the Knife (page 1)

Street Fair in Soho

Ballad Singer

Peachum, Mrs. Peachum, Polly, Mac, Jenny

Beggars, Thieves, Whores

SONG: Ballad of Mack the Knife

(Ballad Singer)

Act I

Scene 1: “To combat the increasing callousness of humans, the businessman J.J. Peachum has opened a shop where the lowest of the low can acquire a look that will soften the hardest of hearts.” (page 3)

Peachum’s Shop

Peachum, Mrs. Peachum, Filch

SONG: Morning Hymn

(Mr. Peachum)

Scene 1b: Enter Filch on “Peachum and company?” (page 4)

Scene 1c: Filch exits (page 11).

SONG: Why Can’t They

(Mr. and Mrs. Peachum)

Scene 2: “Deep in the heart of Soho, the bandit Mack the Knife celebrates his marriage to the Beggar King’s daughter Polly Peachum.” (page 13)

Empty Stable

Mac, Polly

Matt, Jack, Sawtooth Bob, Walt, Ed, Jimmy

SONG: Wedding Song

(The Gang)

Scene 2b: Gang re-enters in different clothing, “Congratulations” line (page 18)

Scene 2c: Reverend Kimball enters (page 24)

SONG: Wedding Song

(The Gang)

Scene 2d: Polly sings (page 26)

SONG: Pirate Jenny


Scene 2e: Tiger Brown enters (page 28)

SONG: Soldiers’ Song

(Mac, Brown)

Scene 2f: Gang sings again (page 33)

SONG: Wedding Song reprise (with accompaniment)


Scene 2g: Exit all except Polly and Mac (page 34)

SONG: Love Song

(Mac, Polly)

Scene 3: “For Peachum, who knows how hard the world is, the loss of his daughter is the same as total destruction.” (page 37)

Peachum’s Shop

Polly, Mr. Peachum, Mrs. Peachum

SONG: Barbara Song


Scene 3b: Beggar enters complaining about the stump. (page 40)

Scene 3c: Beggar exits (page 41)

SONG: First Threepenny Finale

(Polly, Mrs. Peachum, Mr. Peachum)

Act II

Scene 1: “Tuesday afternoon. Mack the Knife, fleeing to Highgate Moor to escape his father-in-law, says farewell to his wife.” (page 46)

Empty stable as in Act 1, Scene 2

Polly, Mac

Scene 1b: Enter GANG after Polly’s “Can you shake their hands after that?” line (page 48)

Scene 1c: Exit GANG (page 50)

SONG: Melodram (underscoring)

Scene 1d: Exit Mac, leaving Polly alone on stage (page 51)

SONG: Polly’s Song

(Mac, Polly)

Interlude: “Mrs. Peachum and Jenny Diver come before the curtain.” (page 52)

Before the Curtain

Mrs. Peachum, Jenny Diver

SONG: Ballad of the Prisoner of Sexuality

(Mrs. Peachum)

Scene 2: “The sound of the coronation bells had barely faded away when Macheath came to visit the whores of Turnbridge. The whores betray him. It is Tuesday evening.” (page 54)

Whorehouse in Turnbridge

Jack, Jenny, Whores

Scene 2b: Mac enters after Jack’s “If I know him, he’s probably outside the city limits by now.” (page 54)

Scene 2c: Jenny exits to meet policemen and Mrs. Peachum (page 57)

Scene 2d: Policeman, Mrs. Peachum, Jenny enter, unnoticed by Mac — they stand watching from a street lamp (page 58)

SONG: Pimp’s Ballad


Scene 2e: Jenny enters with Smith (page 58)

SONG: Pimp’s Ballad (cont.)

(Jenny, Mac)

Scene 2f: Macheath is led off to Old Bailey. Mrs. Peachum emerges. (page 60)

Scene 3: “Betrayed by the whores, Macheath is rescued from prison through another woman’s love.” (page 61)

Cell in Old Bailey jail

Mac, Brown

Scene 3b: Exit Brown on “Mack, say something. Say something to your poor Jackie…Offer him a helping word in this dark…” (page 61)

Scene 3c: Enter Smith with handcuffs (page 62)

Scene 3d: Exit Smith. Mac sings.

SONG: The Ballad of Living in Style


Scene 3e: Enter Lucy (page 63)

Scene 3f: Enter Polly (page 64)

SONG: Jealousy Duet

(Lucy, Polly)

Scene 3g: Mrs. Peachum enters. “I knew it. She’s here with that lowlife. You filthy slut, get over here.” (page 68)

Scene 3h: Mrs. Peachum drags off Polly; both exit.

Scene 3i: Lucy leaves to get Mac’s cane and hat, which she throws to him and then exits. Smith enters. Mac jumps over the bars, policemen dash off after him. (page 69)

Scene 3j: Enter Brown looking for Mac. (page 70)

Scene 3k: Enter Peachum looking for Mac. (page 70)

Scene 3L: Show curtain closes. Mac and Mrs. Peachum come before the curtain. (page 71)

SONG: Second Threepenny Finale

(Mac, Mrs. Peachum, Voice Offstage, Chorus)

Act III:

Scene 1: “That very night, Peachum prepares for battle. He plans to destroy the coronation parade with a demonstration by the poor and miserable.” (page 72)

Peachum’s Shop

Peachum, Mrs. Peachum, Beggar

Scene 1b: Enter Filch (page 72)

Scene 1c: Jenny and the Whores enter. (page 72)

Scene 1d: Enter Peachum, “What’s going on here, you didn’t give them any money, I hope, did you?” (page 73)

Scene 1e: Exit Filch (page 74) “Filch, quick, run to the nearest police station–”

Scene 1f: Mrs. Peachum sings and exits. (page 74-75)

SONG: “Look at Macheath, who’s starting to perspire. He’s hung low now, but soon they’ll hang him higher…”

(Mrs. Peachum)

Scene 1g: Enter Mrs. Peachum with tray of coffee cups (page 75).

Scene 1h: Enter Filch, “Cheezit, the cops! I never got to the station. The coppers were right here!” (page 75)

Scene 1i: Exit Mrs. Peachum with some of the Beggars to hide. Girl-Beggar remains on-stage. Brown and police enter. (page 76)

Scene 1j: Peachum sings. (page 77)

SONG: Song of Why Human Effort is Always Futile


Scene 1k: Brown and Policemen exit (page 79).

Scene 1L: Exit Beggars. Peachum sings reprise. (page 79)

SONG: Reprise: No. 17


Scene 2: “A Fight over Ownership” (page 80)

Lucy’s room in the Old Bailey.


SONG: Lucy’s Aria


Scene 2b: Enter Smith, “Mrs. Polly Macheath would like to see you, Miss.” (page 80)

Scene 2c: Enter Polly (page 81).

Scene 2d: Lucy goes out, comes back in with a poisoned bottle of gin (page 84)

Scene 2e: Enter Mrs. Peachum (page 87). “Ah, Polly, I thought I’d find you here.”

Scene 2f: Show curtain closes. Jenny appears before the curtain with a barrel-organ. (page 88)

SONG: Solomon Song


Scene 3: “5 A.M. Friday morning: Mack the Knife, who went to the whores again, has been betrayed by the whores again. Now he’ll be hanged.” (page 89)

Cell at Old Bailey jail

Mac, Smith


Scene 3b: Brown enters, then exits quickly. (page 90)

Scene 3c: Smith exits. Mac sings. (page 91)

SONG: Call from the Grave


Scene 3d: Matt and Jack enter. Smith appears, confronting the two gangsters. (page 91)

Scene 3e: Smith exits, returning shortly after with Policemen (page 93).

SONG: Call from the Grave (2nd Verse)


Scene 3f: Smith and a Policeman bring a table and a dish of asparagus onstage. Both exit (page 94)

Scene 3g: Brown enters, bringing the table into the cell with Smith. (page 94)

Scene 3h: Enter Peachum, Mrs. Peachum, Polly, Lucy, Jenny and the Whores, the Chaplain, Matt, and Jack (page 96)

Scene 3i: Mac is let out of his cell (page 98)

SONG: Epitaph


Scene 3j: Smith leads Mac to the gallows. Everyone moves to the gallows platform. (page 99)

SONG: Walk to the Gallows


Scene 3k: “A Messenger on Horseback Arrives.” (page 100)

SONG: 3rd Threepenny Finale

(Chorus, Brown, Mac, Polly, Peachum, Mrs. Peachum)

Scene 3L: Brown appears on a stallion as the Messenger (page 100).

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