PHOTO CALL: Sutton Foster, Rebecca Luker, Tonya Pinkins, Sheldon Harnick and More Celebrate First Night at City Center's Cradle Will Rock
By Matthew Blank
Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock, the inaugural show of New York City Center’s new Encores! Off-Center series — a concert-production series celebrating Off-Broadway musicals — plays City Center July 10-13.
Directed by Sam Gold, the production features choreography by Chase Brock, musical direction by Chris Fenwick and orchestrations by Josh Clayton. Jeanine Tesori is the Encores! Off-Center artistic director.
The cast includes Danny Burstein as Mr. Mister, Eisa Davis as Reporter/Prof. Scoot/Clerk/Dr. Specialist, Raúl Esparza as Larry Foreman, Peter Friedman as Harry Druggist, Judy Kuhn as Sadie/Editor Daily, Martin Moran as Yasha/Sister Mister, Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Ella Hammer, Anika Noni Rose as Moll/Mrs. Mister, Henry Stram as Dauber/Junior Mister, Aidan Gemme as Steve/Mamie/Cop, David Margulies as Prexy, Michael Park as Trixie/Bugs/Dick, Robert Petkoff as Professor Trixie/Gus Polock and Matthew Saldivar as Reverend Salvation.
The Cradle Will Rock, with music, lyrics and book by Blitzstein, is described as "a powerful political satire and an extraordinary piece of theater history. Set against the backdrop of a steel strike and peopled with fat-cat capitalists, brutal policemen, heroic union organizers, and a warm-hearted prostitute, Blitzstein’s 1937 battle hymn to the proletariat feels remarkably fresh."
The show was developed in 1937 with funds from the Federal Theater Project, a branch of the WPA. The original production, directed by Orson Welles, was shut down four days before opening. Officially, it was shut down due to WPA budget cuts, but many cited the show’s pro-union themes as the government’s impetus for its closing. The show finally opened Off-Broadway at the Venice Theatre in June 1937 with private funding. It next opened on Broadway at the Windsor Theater on Jan. 3, 1938, and ran 108 performances.
The majority of tickets for all Encores! Off-Center productions are $25. All tickets can be purchased online at NYCityCenter.org, by calling CityTix at (212) 581-1212, or at the City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).
The new series also features Jeanine Tesori's 1997 musical Violet and the 1970's folk-rock musical I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road.
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