Classic Stage Company's Off-Broadway production of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock, which began previews March 21, officially opens April 3. Directed by Tony winner John Doyle, performances continue through May 19.
The Depression-era indictment of rampant capitalism, told almost entirely in song, features Ken Barnett (Mozart in the Jungle, Fun Home) as Editor Daily, Eddie Cooper (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, This Ain’t No Disco) as Junior Mister, Benjamin Eakeley (She Loves Me, Cabaret) as Reverend Salvation, Tony nominee David Garrison (Dead Poets Society, The Visit) as Mr. Mister, Ian Lowe (Murder for Two, Nikolai and the Others) as Yasha, Kara Mikula (Allegro, White Christmas) as Sister Mister, Olivier winner Lara Pulver (Gypsy in London, Sherlock) as Moll, Sally Ann Triplett (Sweeney Todd at Barrow Street, The Last Ship) as Mrs. Mister, Rema Webb (The Color Purple, Violet) as Ella, and Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck (On The Town, Prince of Broadway) as Larry Foreman.
The Cradle Will Rock takes place in the fictional Steeltown, USA, where laborer Larry Foreman struggles to unionize fellow steel workers against mounting attacks from a greedy industrialist, Mister Mister. As a cross-section of society shows up in a night court, the extent to which Mister Mister has bought the support and control of nearly all people—the editor of the local newspaper, the preacher, the doctor, artists—and institutions becomes brazenly apparent.
The production features sets by Doyle, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Jane Cox and Tess James, and music supervision from Greg Jarrett. Casting is by Telsey + Company.
The 1937 premiere—directed by Orson Welles—was shut down on the eve of opening night by federal authorities over so-called “budget cuts,” commonly considered a thin veil for fears of the play’s pro-labor stance. Armed guards arrived at the scene, blocking use of the theatre and ensuring no one could bring costumes and sets elsewhere. The day of the opening, Blitzstein, Welles, and producer John Houseman quickly found another venue. However, the actors’ union had restricted the cast from performing the play onstage in a non-Federal Theater Project-sanctioned venue—but nothing barred them from performing the pro-union play offstage, from the audience. Blitzstein played piano from the stage as costume-less, prop-less, but no less spirited actors sang from the audience.
Production Photos: The Cradle Will Rock Off-Broadway
(Updated April 3, 2019)