The 20th century Writing from to Important movements in dramapoetryfictionand criticism took shape in the years before, during, and after World War I.
It catches fire, it blazes, it amuses and grips the listener. It laid the groundwork, in its politics and its episodic construction, for later shows as varied as Cabaret, Hair, Pippin, Chicago, Assassins, and Rent.
There are just as many whores in politics, religion, academia, and the arts today as there were in the s. As televangelists make millions and live in gilded mansions, as politicians receive gifts and campaign contributions from giant corporations, foreign powers, and other special interests, The Cradle Will Rock will always seem as if it could have been written last month.
The Cradle Will Rock was the first musical comedy Marc Blitzstein ever wrote, even though he was already, at age 32, an internationally respected classical composer and music commentator.
Completed in only five weeks, its underlying subject matter is very serious and yet it lives in a world of cheap laughs, cartoon characters and melodrama. Its politics are proto-communist and unionist, yet it is unmistakably an American musical comedy and it still today holds a place of honor in musical theatre history.
It is the obliqueness that so often gives a Blitzstein lyric its penetrating, wise, final, startling quality.
The only other musicals that have that many cast recordings are the big hits like The Sound of Music that everybody knows. That Cradle has been recorded so many times is a testament to the love so many people feel for the show and to its flexibility that lends itself so easily to so many fresh interpretations of its hilarious, blistering, angry story.
It was an example of the socially conscious work that had taken the theatre world by storm in the middle s, a kind of theatre that the American musical theatre had not yet explored. In the aftermath of the Depression and the subsequent national disillusionment, many theatre artists and some of the more elite theatre-going public had become members of the communist party.
Blitzstein himself was a member of the communist party and there are indications that Cradle had been percolating for a long time.
Its politics were incendiary precisely because the issues were so real. In Decemberauto workers at the Flint, Michigan General Motors plant staged a forty-four day sit-down strike, at the urging of the mostly communist union leadership. General Motors finally gave in and recognized the union in February, but Henry Ford hired six hundred armed guards to prevent unionization at the Ford Motor Company.
An interesting side note.
Meanwhile, on May 30, Republic Steel one of the Little Steels arranged for the Chicago police to attack union picketers, their wives and children, killing three and injuring eighty-four.
Cradle was getting too close to the truth — or perhaps, the truth was getting too close to Cradle. People in high places were getting nervous. On June 10, the Federal Theatre Project budget was slashed. Seventeen hundred workers were fired, pickets popped up everywhere, and all openings of new shows were put on hold until July 1 — including The Cradle Will Rock.
Interestingly, though three shows were slated to open before July 1 and should have been shut down, the other two were allowed to open anyway. Only Cradle was shut down. Rehearsals continued anyway as Welles and Houseman kept fighting to be allowed to open.
The final dress rehearsal on June 15 was a logistical nightmare, with set trouble, missed cues, and other random and seemingly insurmountable disasters.
Houseman spent the day calling the press, telling them the show would indeed open in another theatre, which he still had not found. Welles and Houseman would have to pay the musicians full union scale, as well as back pay for rehearsals, and he would have to hire more musicians in accordance with the standard Broadway contract.
There was no way Welles and Houseman could afford this. So Welles came up with a plan — the actors would come to the new theatre wherever it might besit in the audience, and when the time came, perform their roles from the house.
Of course, many of the actors were not comfortable with this plan, convinced that they would lose their jobs with the Federal Theatre Project. Jobs were just too hard to come by in Still, Welles and Houseman insisted the show could go on, without sets, without lights, without an orchestra, perhaps even without the cast.
They sent an assistant, Jean Rosenthal later an award winning Broadway lighting designerto go find a piano and a truck and just keep driving around Manhattan until they could book another theatre.The Cradle Will Rock is a play in music by Marc Blitzstein.
|9 to 5 (musical) | Revolvy||I recommend it highly. Take the NEA budget par example.|
Originally a part of the Federal Theatre Project, it was directed by Orson Welles, and produced by John Houseman. The musical is a Brechtian allegory of corruption and corporate greed and includes a panoply of societal figures.
Jan 29, · MARC BLITZSTEIN'S controversial labor opera, ''The Cradle Will Rock,'' struck sparks when it was first produced on Broadway in , under the auspices of the W.P.A. And in its Off Broadway revival at the American Place Theater, featuring alumni of the Acting Company, the satirical work emerged as a rugged period piece .
We were struck by the timeliness of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, a work that felt uncannily apt given the context of this summer’s labor disputes at the Metropolitan Opera.
The Cradle Will Rock is structured as a series of flashbacks and vignettes, exposing the members of a so-called Liberty Committee in Steeltown, USA.
Lost in The Cradle: The Reconstruction and Meaning of Marc Blitzstein’s “FTP Plowed Under” () Trudi Wright (bio) Many are familiar with the infamous opening night of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock on June 16, The Cradle Will Rock: The Working Man's Musical A portrait of Marc Blitzstein Marcus Samuel Blitzstein, born on March 2nd, , was a composer from Philadelphia who revolutionized American musical theater in the 's.
Beginning with the rise of popular sheet music in the early 20th century, New York's Broadway musical theater and Tin Pan Alley's songcraft, New York became a major center for the American music industry.
Since then the city has served as an important center for many different musical topics and genres.