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THE CRADLE WILL ROCK
"The Cradle Will Rock is one of the most memorable shows I have ever seen. This joint venture is not only brilliant in idea, but also in execution."
-- Tony Burnett, Talkin Broadway.com
"An intriguing new production . . . energetic, intelligent . . . passionate, stylized and exciting." -- Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch
"A spirited, entertaining production . . . absurd and chilling at the same time, the perfect blend of musical form and content." -- Brian Hohlfeld, The Riverfront Times
New Line's 2001-2002 season opened with Marc Blitzstein's funny, provocative, history making 1937 "labor musical" THE CRADLE WILL ROCK is the show so outrageous, so dangerous, and so TRUE that it was the only Broadway musical ever shut down by the federal government for its subversive content. This comic morality tale follows the citizens of Steeltown, USA -- Reverend Salvation, Editor Daily, Dr. Specialist, Harry Druggist, and the others -- as they prostitute themselves to the powerful steel magnate Mr. Mister. The New York Times said that The Cradle Will Rock "has qualities of genius . . . It catches fire, it blazes, it amuses and grips the listener." It was the first American musical written from a working class perspective and it laid the groundwork, in its politics and its construction, for later shows as varied as Cabaret, Hair, Pippin, Chicago, Assassins, and Rent.
New Line's production recreated that famous first night, when the government padlocked Cradle's theatre and the show's audience walked twenty-one blocks uptown to another theatre, picking up hundreds more along the way. The actors' and musicians' unions forbade their members to perform onstage, so many of the actors performed the show from the audience, with only composer Marc Blitzstein onstage at a solo piano.
As part of the event, HotHouse Theatre Company produced It's All True, a play about the original production of The Cradle Will Rock (though it fictionalizes many scenes and uses original songs not from Cradle). The two shows ran in rotating repertory, with audiences being able to see both shows on Saturdays. Also, MediaARTS created a multi-media project around the two shows which was performed live after the theatre performances.
Want to explore more?
The 1994 Los Angeles cast album of The Cradle Will Rock (our favorite) or the 1985 off-Broadway revival cast album (with Patti LuPone) or the 1938 original (but slightly tone-deaf) Broadway cast album
The film Cradle Will Rock (about the creation of the musical) on DVD
A PDF file of the original 1936 typescript
An analysis of The Cradle Will Rock by artistic director Scott Miller
An excellent Cradle Will Rock website
The coffee table book about the film Cradle Will Rock, including the screenplay
The biography of the show’s
the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein
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