Her work as a novelist and screenwriter helps her keep the pacing swift and the prose dynamic — the chapters on the creation of “The Threepenny Opera” are almost unbearably suspenseful. If the characterizations of the three women of the subtitle seem selected for contrast — sturdy Weigel, sensual Lenya, timid Hauptmann — she offers a real and empathetic sense of how Brecht and Weill walked and spoke and dressed (and in the case of the unwashed Brecht, how he smelled).
NEW YORK TIMES
The strength of "The Partnership" resides in how vividly it re-creates not just these remarkable men but also the women who contributed so mightily to their reputations. Weigel's dignity, Hauptmann's disappointment and abiding loyalty, and Lenya's wildness and talent are haunting — and they add a rich undercurrent of meaning to the book's title. Read the full review here.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
The partnership, Katz argues, might never have happened without three women: Brecht’s colleague Elisabeth Hauptmann; his sometime lover, the actress Helene Weigel; and Weill’s wife, the actress Lotte Lenya. Katz restores the women to their proper place in the story, with levity, strong characterization, and beguiling descriptions of an interwar German milieu crackling with politics, art, and a sense of possibility. Read the full review here.
The culture of Weimar Germany is at its most provocative and profound in this scintillating portrait of its leading theatrical luminaries. ... Katz gives an uproarious view of the ferment of interwar Berlin’s theatrical avant-garde, with Brecht’s tantrums, power plays, preening demands, and ideological conceits. But she also takes seriously the artistic and political ideas that drove Brecht and Weill to their innovations (and eventually estranged them). The result is a thoughtful, entertaining recreation of a watershed moment in 20th-century theater. Read the full review here.
The explosive collaboration of two brilliant artists. ... As screenwriter and novelist Katz shows in this deft, incisive cultural history, despite their artistic affinities, what divided them made their six-year partnership volatile and, finally, impossible. Weill was self-disciplined, quiet and unwilling to let distractions—women, political activism—get in the way of his work. ... With a novelist's eye for telling details, Katz offers a colorful, perceptive and riveting portrait of a remarkable artistic partnership.
The period of German rule classified as the Weimar Republic (established in 1919) represents one of the most fascinating and influential times in that nation's history. Though the time was fraught with domestic and international turmoil, some light in the form of cultural and social reform shone on the German people. Screenwriter Katz (film, New York Univ.) paints an intriguing portrait of the complexities of artistic reform by using recent research that considers a creative relationship between poet Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill. Katz's ability to incorporate the influence of significant German figures, such as Lotte Lenya, Helene Weigel, and Elisabeth Hauptmann upon these male figures is rare and admirable. The author excels in her ability to interpret previously unconsidered intricacies concerning the partnerships of these two figures and the women who influenced them.
“The Partnership" is a remarkable and thrilling account of two artists making history, and being made by history. It follows in intimate detail one of the most fruitful collaborations of twentieth-century performance, that of Bert Brecht and Kurt Weill. It is also a thrilling perspective on the explosive last years of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi rise to power. Pamela Katz writes with extraordinary insight into the women who made these men possible; she restores them to the position they earned in life: neither victims nor objects, but fiercely talented creators and individuals. She is an artist, and she writes with an artist’s grace and human insight. Her evocation of the titanic struggles of two brilliant theatrical figures, each with enormous self-assurance, is captivating.
OSKAR EUSTIS, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, THE PUBLIC THEATER