Art Musical by Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan and Robert Wilson, after the eponymous play fragment by Georg Büchner

Premiered on November 18, 2000 at the Betty Nansen Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark

Performed in Danish.

Woyzeck was Robert Wilson's third collaboration with Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, after The Black Rider (1990) and Alice (1992). The so-called "art musical" first opened at Copenhagen's Betty Nansen Teatret and the original production subsequently went on a European tour, to much international acclaim. 

The piece is based on German revolutionary poet Georg Büchner's eponymous play from 1837, which remained a fragment. It is one of the most influential and widely performed plays in German literature. The sinister story is about Franz Woyzeck, a soldier, who struggles for survival, signs up as a subject of human experiments, and gets abused by everyone around him. He develops hallucinations and eventually kills his wife for her unfaithfulness.

This adaptation of Woyzeck has frequently been licensed and mounted by other companies and under different directors, notably in German-speaking and Scandinavian countries. To this day, it remains in the repertories of many theaters.

Mr. Wilson’s collaborations with rock songwriters have sometimes been more like collisions, as the straightforwardness and concision of rock clash with Mr. Wilson’s dream logic and slow-motion timing. But ‘’Woyzeck’’ is his third collaboration with Mr. Waits and Ms. Brennan, and they have reached a détente that’s somewhere near a reimagined surrealist cabaret. Mr. Waits has always had a Kurt Weill streak in his music, subverting pretty melodies with arrangements that creak and clank. Mr. Wilson enjoys the combination of the everyday and the inexplicable, and Mr. Waits’s ballads still let him take his time.
— Jon Pareles in The New York Times, October 31, 2002

Note for Producers and Presenters
To obtain the Grand Rights for Woyzeck, as well as for the other Wilson/Waits collaborations (The Black Rider and Alice), please contact the following publishers: