Lisa Brailoff directs and choreographs the engagement for Downtown Musical Productions that will run through Sept. 24. Mimi Stern-Wolfe serves as musical director with Jeannine Otis as artistic coordinator. The run is presented as part of the 2009 Howl Festival.
Downtown Musical Productions previously staged the Depression-era work in Manhattan last February, also under the musical direction of Stern-Wolfe, as part of the East Village Concert Series, in collaboration with St. Mark's Church in the Bowery. Many of the cast members return for the Howl revival.
Laura Newman will portray The Moll, with Rob Ventre as A Gent, Paul J. Malamphy as Mr. Mister and Darcy Dunn as Mrs. Mister. Casting also includes Joshua Isaacs as A Dick, Jeannine Otis as Ella Hammer and Mark Peters as Larry Foreman.
The Cradle Will Rock ensemble comprises Michael Schilke, Greg Senf, Dan Debenport, Michael Iannucci, Alex Michaels, Mark Singer, Rayna Hickman, Joel Abels, Kate Canary, Gavin Esham and Tom Savage.
"Set in 'Steeltown, USA,'" The Cradle Will Rock, according to press notes, "follows the efforts of Larry Foreman to unionize and otherwise combat wicked businessman Mr. Mister. Blitzstein portrays a whole panoply of societal figures: Mr. Mister's vicious, outwardly genteel philanthropic wife and spoiled children, sell-out artists, poor shopkeepers, immigrant families, a faithless priest, and an endearing prostitute named Moll." First directed by Orson Welles and produced by John Houseman as part of the Federal Theatre Project, The Cradle Will Rock was born into theatre legend when the U. S. government, fearing the allegorical work was too anti-establishment, shut down the production on opening night in 1937 and seized possession of the orchestral charts, scripts, scenery and costumes.
Spurred on by Welles and Houseman, the audience and cast traveled uptown to the Venice Theater where composer Marc Blitzstein, alone at an onstage piano, began to narrate and perform The Cradle Will Rock for a packed audience of 1,742. The cast of Cradle, who were forbidden by Actors Equity to perform on stage, began to perform the musical from various points throughout the audience.
To this day, The Cradle Will Rock is performed as a minimally staged work, incorporating narration from the accompanist, as with the 1983 Acting Company revival directed by John Houseman and starring Patti LuPone.
The infamous birth of The Cradle Will Rock was also captured by actor and director Tim Robbins in the 1999 film "Cradle Will Rock." The film, which offers glimpses of the production, boasts performances from theatre veterans including Victoria Clark, Gregg Edelman, Audra McDonald and Daniel Jenkins.
For tickets visit BrownPaperTickets. The Bleecker Street Theatre is located at 45 Bleecker Street.