Skip to main content

The Cradle Will Rock

Campus News | Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Cradle Will Rock

Theatre Columbus State will present “The Cradle Will Rock” - a contemporary folk operate set against the backdrop of a steel strike. It’s the first musical at the college in more than 20 years.

Because theater is in Communications, and music is in Humanities, both departments began planning for the musical two years ago.

Showtimes: 8 p.m. Wednesday April 25, 3 and 8 p.m. Thursday April 26, 8 p.m. Friday April 27 and 8 p.m. Saturday April 28.

Admission: Free

Cradle Will Rock


About The Cradle Will Rock

Cradle Will RockIn 1937, Orson Welles and John Houseman choose Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, a contemporary folk opera set against the backdrop of a steel strike, to produce for the Federal Theatre Project. Characters in the left-leaning work include fat-cat capitalists, brutal policemen, heroic union organizers, and a warm-hearted prostitute.

While the play is going through rehearsal, violent labor action spreads throughout parts of United States. Simultaneously, conservative members of Congress attack WPA director Henry Hopkins and his liberal ideology, attempting to cut funding. Fearing The Cradle Will Rock's pro-labor message will cause further damage to the WPA, on the eve of opening night, federal authorities shut the production down.

Welles travels to Washington to plead for a reversal -- there are 14,000 seats sold for the run of the play. Failing, he rushes back to New York, as an audience of 600 mill about the Federal Theater wondering if the show will indeed go on. Welles and Houseman telephone frantically to secure an alternate venue, and the cast and audience march 20 blocks across town to another theater.

Blitzstein sits at a piano alone on stage; union rules prohibit Equity performers playing in what is now a non-union house. One by one, however, most of the actors voice their parts from their seats, to the applause and cheers of a delighted crowd.

This break with the WPA gives birth to the Mercury Theater, which in various incarnations produces some of the most memorable productions of the '30s.


Go to 2018 Archive Go to Campus News