THE CRADLE WILL ROCK

Synopsis

A play in music written in 1937, THE CRADLE WILL ROCK by Marc Blitzstein is set in Steeltown, USA. Mr. Mister, the corporate magnate, has bought up (or paid off) every sector of the communitythe church, the press, the university, the artists. A prostitute arrives in Steeltown, and is immediately picked up for soliciting. Hauled into night court, she is befriended by a derelict pharmacist, who explains that all the others (who have been hauled in mistakenly) are as guilty of selling themselves as she is. Through flashback and song, the piece illustrates how each of the civic leaders sold out to Mr. Mister, with the exception of Larry Foreman, a union organizer who is attempting to get the whole town to organize.

One of the first pro-union musicals written in this country, THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, directed by Orson Welles, was premiered by the Federal Theatre Project. This first production was legendary (the context for the original production is explored brilliantly in Tim Robbins film of the same name). Just before opening night, the company received word that budget cuts would prevent the show from opening and the artists were padlocked out of the building. In a historic display of the show must go on, the company and audience marched 20 blocks to a theatre that the company had secured, along with a rented piano, and the show did go on.

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Ticket cost: $30 ($25 for students and seniors)

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