The Cradle will Rock: A Labor Musical for Art's Sake
Marc Blitzstein (1905–64) remains an obscure figure. With few exceptions his music either was never published or is currently out of print. Historians and Broadway enthusiasts relatively unfamiliar with either Blitzstein or The Cradle Will Rock may nevertheless know something of the circumstances behind this work's extraordinary premiere on June 16, 1937 (directed by Orson Welles). As reported on the front page of the New York Times the next day—and almost invariably whenever the work is mentioned for the next sixty years—the show, banned from a padlocked Maxine Elliot theater, its government sponsorship revoked, moved its forces and its assembled audience twenty blocks uptown to the Venice Theater. Once there, in conformance to the letter (if not the spirit) of the prohibitions placed upon its performance, cast members sang their parts from the audience while Blitzstein took the stage with his piano.
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