Musicals have been an important part of the Dresden State Operetta's repertoire ever since its founding in 1947. A case in point here is the legendary East German premiere of 'My Fair Lady' in 1965. The stage production by Prof. Fritz Steiner was performed at the State Operetta an incredible 447 times. Marita Böhme and Peter Herden played the lead roles, while Karl-Heinz Hanicke was the musical director.
But the Operetta continued to make a name for itself in the world of musicals over the years that followed, with the likes of 'Sweet Charity' (1971), 'Cabaret' (1976) and 'Evita' (1987), The German premiere of 'Singin’ in the Rain' (1994), 'Aspects of Love' (1997) and 'The Beautiful Game' (2003), as well as the European premieres of 'Victor / Victoria' (1998) and 'Pardon My English' (2009). Coupled with these were the premiere of opera musical 'Rasputin' (2000) and the German premieres of 'Passion' (2011) and 'Catch Me If You Can' (2015). The latter two musicals were released on CD as complete recordings featuring the Dresden State Operetta's orchestra, under the musical direction of Peter Christian Feigel.
2018 saw 'Zzaun! – Das Nachbarschaftsmusical' ("Ffence - The neighbourhood musical") premiere at the State Operetta, taking first prize at the 2015 'Creators' competition for new German-language musicals. That same year, the staging also won the German Musical Theatre Prize for Best Choreography. This musical was also recorded onto CD with the State Operetta's 'Zzaun!' ensemble.
The theatre hosted another exciting premiere in April 2019 with the musical 'Der Mann mit dem Lachen' ("The Man With the Laughing Face") (Frank Nimsgern | music, Alexander Kuchinka | lyrics and Tilmann von Blomberg | script).
And its repertoire was further expanded in June 2019 with 'One Touch of Venus' - a Weill musical relatively unknown in this part of the world. The production was one of Kurt Weill's most successful musicals on Broadway following his emigration to the United States in the early 1940s.
Kathrin Kondaurow's appointment as theatre director saw the Stephen Sondheim musical 'Follies' added to the repertoire. Martin G. Berger, who doubled as the director, wrote a new, alternative version for the Dresden adaptation, combining lots of local and contemporary historical references with a hint of 'Ostalgia' (lit. "nostalgia for the former East Germany"), and covering the entire time spectrum from reunification to the present day. Remaining on the programme are Broadway musical 'Cinderella', 'Pippin' and 'Grimm! – The True Story of Little Red Riding Hood and Her Wolf'.
From the 2023/24 season, Stephen Sondheim's musical thriller "Sweeney Todd" will be on the programme. Winner of numerous Tony Awards, Sondheim's "black operetta" plays with opulent operatic drama and horror effects à la "Psycho".