ELISABETH

 

New staging
Theater des Westens Berlin
20. April - 10. August 2008
and
Alte Oper Frankfurt,
several Shows in
December 2009 and January 2010

Uwe Kroeger in the role of "Death"

© Stage Entertainment


ELISABETH

A life full of glamour and tragedies, rebellion and loneliness

ELISABETH, the musical by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, tells the true story of Elisabeth, the most famous empress of Austria.

The play corrects the romantic, partly gaudy image which had been pressed on her by the (melodramatic) Sissi-movies of the fifties. Her life at the Viennese court, which began like a fairy-tale, soon developed into a drama full of privation and struggles for power. In spite of all the resistance to the personal restraint and obligations of the court, this modern and self-confident woman is destined to fail tragically.

Only the bitter-sweet temptation - Death - played by a mysterious, attractive man, always accompanies her. Not only on her final journey . . 
 

FROM THE PRESS:

December 2009:



April 2008:

Saarbrücker Zeitung / 4/24/2008

Berlin première of the musical "Elisabeth": The death with sex appeal

Berlin. The death has never been so sexy. Uwe Kroeger has matured in his staring role. With this he awards the musical "Elisabeth", which celebrated on the past week-end in the Berlin "Theater des Westens" under the direction of Harry Kupfer the capital city premiere, brilliance, glamor and a hint of erotism. Vocally and optically he is, precise like his partner Pia Douwes, a class for himself. At the world premiere in 1992 in Vienna they had there breakthrough as Elisabeth and death .... The 44-year-old dutchwoman in the meantime still succeeds in being plausible as a young princess as well as a bitter, matured empress. Kroeger is so lascivious at times that the fear of the end of life is taken away from the audience....

musicalcocktail / 06.2008

... Elisabeth and the death - this are the starring roles of Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger, created by them for the world premiere sixteen years ago in Vienna. Now they stood as empress and death on the stage, this time in the "Theater des Westens" in Berlin. Indeed, older but nevertheless brilliant on opening night and they inspired the audience beyond all measure. April 20th was the evening of Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger! Incredibly what both musical stars presented on proficiency and charisma on stage.

... The death, as Elisabeth sees him is young, attractive and erotic. By his charismatic appeal he draws Elisabeth into his spell over and over again, he accompanies Elisabeth from childhood. This character could show Uwe Kroeger perfectly. His death is not any more the youthful lover of the empress, but her mature opponent  - at their meetings two just as strong opponents fight, whether and when they, Elisabeth and the death would be united. Sometimes completely in white, sometimes quite in black, the death appeared in the life of Elisabeth again and again. His conspicuous appearance, his well sedate artificial poses, his partly demonically, partly seductive game, Uwe Kroeger always became the centre of the event. He simply fascinated by his unbelievable stage presence!

Uwe Kroeger seemed less like an androgynous art figure like still in Vienna, more like a real man. This is maybe also caused by his very advantageous, stylish short hair hairstyle á la David Beckham which the artist wears now instead of the long, blond mane of 1992....


musicals / 06.2008

... One pound is natural, as already mentioned, Pia Douwes.... The other pound is Uwe Kroeger who plays again, like in Vienna and also Essen, the death. Also he succeeds in giving new nuances to his part. If he was at the worldpremiere still very much an androgyner, undeterminable death, in Essen however a rather masculine, dangerous opponent adversary, he becomes here in Berlin the ingenious seducer who kills, while he embraces and kisses. Wonderful also that Kroeger has taken back himself a little. He does not show quite a lot of exaggeration, which he gave in Essen to his death, here he doesn´t show it....

The highlights in the "Theater des Westens" are still the thrilling moments when Douwes and Kroeger sing in the first act " Elisabeth, don´t be distressed " and after the intermission " If I want to dance ". How these actors play the ambivalence of attraction and defence, is stage play at high level....

Da Capo / 05.2008

... As "death" Uwe Kroeger is able once again to perform in his staring role. It needs a little bit getting used to, if one doesn´t see him anymore with his wide, black coat, but in the white or black suit with which he could go so easily to every party. Because the death signifies, however, eternalness, one can make friends with it, indeed, but, nevertheless, from the optical goose bumps effect which this role brings with itself, costume designer Yan Tax has taken him a bit to far away. In any case, Kroeger tries by his expressiveness to give the role dynamism what he absolutely manages ...

Tagesspiegel / 4/21/2008

... The death wears white. Not like one, who robs life, but Uwe Kroeger acts rather like a savoir. There it becomes quite clear that he plays the part against expectations. It is at the same time an intriguing and disconcerting idea of Michael Kunze, who has written "Elisabeth", to show the death not as a threat, from which you confine yourself, but as a seduction, a lover who kills, while he kisses. Elisabeth longs her whole life for him and she succumbs to his charm, in the end: "The last dance belongs only to me", he promises, in the meantime, in quite conventional Black. Only Kroegers white-blond mop of hair shines even further....
At the end it is the death, who gives the knife to Lucheni and welcomes Elisabeth. There he wears already white again....

Tagesspiegel / 4/21/2008

... Especially celebrated, with a lot of applause at the end and during the show, have been both featuring stars Pia Douwes as Elisabeth and Uwe Kroeger ....

Freie Presse Chemnitz / 4/21/2008

...  Last Friday Uwe Kroeger sat in Gottschalks musical casting show on the juror's bank ... Also Pia Douwes looks in her native country, the Netherlands, like a mother after the younger generation. Both are icons of their guild, who want to know again about whether they are still able to do it. And they are able to do it. Now we know this.
Both demonstrate on stage in Berlin two sides of the ageing: Either one becomes complacent - or real, I mean real good. Kroeger could audition meanwhile from the phone book; he would still have the most erotic voice of the musical world. He maintains his David Bowie image, carries his nose high, well over the possibilities of his part. He does not play with the death; Kroeger is Kroeger who never dies, forever young....

BZ / 4/21/2008

... Right in the middle the lovers: Elisabeth ..., emperor Franz Josef... And the majestically walking death (Uwe Kroeger), who accompanies Elisabeth since childhood.

Drama musicals / 4/21/2008

... Under Standing-Ovations lasting for several minutes the première of the successful musical ELISABETH was celebrated on Sunday in the Berlin Theater des Westens.
The new staging of Harry Kupfer on the basis of the enlarged Viennese version of 2005 looked fresh and innovative on stage. A prominent cast, first of all Pia Douwes (empress Elisabeth) and Uwe Kroeger (death), made the evening an unforgettable experience....

Musicalboulevard / 4/21/2008

... The actors are completely top class. First of all the featuring stars, Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger, which embodied the parts of Elisabeth and the death already at the world premiere in 1992 in Vienna and became during the past 16 years stars of the musical scene. Of course both have matured over the years and represent their parts absolutely persuasive and with a driven vocal power....

NETZEITUNG / 4/22/2008

... Uwe Kroeger: the experienced death
Director Kupfer ...praised the ensemble before the première: "These are well qualified young people who can sing, act and dance", he said to the " Berliner Zeitung ". In particular cases this may be absolutely right, f.e. with the death actor Kroeger who plays through his part expertly - sometimes with slushy Vibrato, sometimes with thundering (hero) tenor. Completely the professional, this death - he can handle the part....
The Berlin death is calculating: Kroeger knows (thanks to long-standing experience in the musical genre), in the meantime, mechanically, when he has to set accents, when to set the timbre of his voice dramatically, when he must allow to sound melancholy....

Berliner Zeitung / 4/22/2008

... He, who strictly calls at the television casting show to deal with the part and not only devotion, plays here, above all, himself, Kroeger. Energetically and powerfully, this has an effect, yes, however, his death remains always domineering and bad, instead of also softly and luring as it would have given the part....

Bloom.de / 4/22/2008

... A sure bank are the featuring stars Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger, which have been on stage already more than 15 years ago at the première in Vienna. In the meantime, they belong to the best known musical stars and also their TV presence during the recently sent musical casting shows might have given one more popularity push. Their voices are a great pleasure without question...

Märkische Allgemeine/ 4/23/2008

... Exclusively always at her side: The death, a luring beau (Uwe Kroeger) to whom she dedicates herself, however, only after the suicide of her son Rudolf....
With Pia Douwes Harry Kupfer has an actress who masters the change of the naive girl to the wilful woman reliably. Unconcentrated and certainly she sings even the most difficult parts. Same counts for Uwe Kroeger who inoculates, nevertheless, the necessary hardness and ice to the death with all charm....

Neues Deutschland / 4/23/2008

... And also the idea, the "death" (Uwe Kroeger, with the charm of a boy-group star) as a true partner of Elisabeth (Pia Douwes, clear to the highest tones) and not her pale, continually ageing husband, the emperor Franz Josef (Markus Pol). The trick, to let the murderer of the empress to virtually tell the story, this is the finest dramaturgy....

Bunte / 4/24/2008

... Empress Elisabeth, the unhappy Sisi, held court. ... (cheered singers: Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger)...