From Rachel Buchman (Frau Peachum):
The following introduction comes from a copy of The Beggar's Opera I picked up in NYC at the end of the summer. Beggar's Opera by John Gay is the opera that Threepenny very closely follows. This introduction explains much about the historical characters, the underworld society the characters operate in, the meaning of some of the vocabulary and so on.
Other resources that are worth investigating:
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Doblin
[It takes place in Weimar Berlin]
Moll Flanders by Defoe
Takes place in London in the 1720's, the time of The Beggar's Opera and graphically deals with the life of beggars, whores, and thieves. It really brings to life many of the people and circumstances depicted in Threepenny. It is also an unintentionally enlightening and sympathetic portrait of women in early 18th century society.
Berlin Alexanderplatz- German television series based on the book, directed by Fassbinder
Threepenny Opera- movie version directed by Pabst (from 1931)
Collection of George Grosz's drawings and paintings entitled "Ecce Homor."
CLICK images to read! !
The Beggar's Opera by John Gar; Penguin Classics Edition
Published: 1986, London/NY