The Cradle Will Rock
Composer: Marc Blitzstein
Librettist: Marc Blitzstein
Other Artistic Personnel: Orson Wells, Director
Lehman Engel, Conductor
John Houseman, Producer
Abe Feder, Lighting Designer
Original Cast: Marc Blitzstein
Howard da Silva
Olive Stanton
Hiram Sherman
Premiere Date: June 16, 1937
Producing Company: Venice Theater
Description: A deliberately one-dimensional propaganda piece about union workers triumphing over their corrupt boss, the work is a period piece of the Depression, the Young Communist League, and New Masses of the 1930s. The setting is Steeltown, U.S.A., during a union drive. Larry Foreman, Steeltown's heroic union organizer, defies Mr. Mister, Steeltown's owner, and the owner's corrupt Liberty Committee. The characters are drawn in bold stereotypes.
Character List (Major): Moll
Editor Daily
Mr. Mister
Junior Mister
Sister Mister
Mrs. Mister
Reverend Salvation
Larry Foreman
Yasha
Dauber
President Prexy
Professor Mamie
Dr. Specialist
Character List (Minor): Professor Trixie
Druggist
Sadie Polock
Gus Polock
Ella Hammer
Gent
Dick
Cop
Clerk
Steve
Bugs
Professor Scoot
Attendant
Bit Parts: First Reporter
Second Reporter
Reviews: The New York Times, Stephen Holden, 1-29-86; The New York Times, 4-28-85; Time, 7-25-83; The New Yorker, 6-6-83; The New York Times, Marc Blitzstein, 4-12-64 (a transcript of a recorded interview); The New York Times, Nan Robertson, 7-29-83; The New York Times, Frank Rich, 5-10-83; The New York Times, Robert Leiter, 5-1-83; The New York Times, Raymond Ericson, 5-13-78; The New Yorker, Winthrop Sargeant, 2-60; The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg, 4-20-64.
Comments: First performance with orchestra was under Leonard Bernstein in 1947.
Length: 01:30
Total Acts: 1
Chorus: No chorus
Musical Style: Reminiscent of the work of Weill and Brecht. The songs satirize conventional musical-comedy models, but in a free-form style. A fusion of vaudeville, Gilbert and Sullivan, parodies of vintage American pop tunes, and work anthems. The songs were designed to be available to untrained actors' voices.
Contact: Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc.
Address: 560 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-688-2525
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