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Working-man's musical 'The Cradle Will Rock' comes to WSU

Published March 14, 2012 3:04 pm

Musical theater • Marc Blitzstein's Depression-era work speaks to today's Occupy movement, and beyond.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Similar to Emile Zola's Germinal, John Sayles' "Matewan" and Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront," "The Cradle Will Rock" is a classic of working-class drama and literature. A classic, except for the fact that some people still know nothing about it.

Marc Blitzstein's 1937 story of Larry Foreman's attempts to unionize workers in "Steeltown, USA" in opposition to Mr. Mister sounds almost cartoonish in its outline, but impressed Orson Welles so much that he directed it as part of the Federal Theatre Project's series of works that began as a program of the Works Progress Administration to employ unemployed artists, actors and theater writers during the Depression. The WPA, in turn, was so alarmed by unabashed political message behind Blitzstein's drama that they tried to shut it down. Weber State University's department of performing arts has selected "The Cradle Will Rock" both for its superlative qualities that stand alone, matched with its current relevance to the Occupy movement.

Trent Cox, director of this production, stated in press materials that the hand of German dramatist Bertolt Brecht guided his hand. "Ninety percent of the show is either sung or has musical underscoring—a great challenge," Cox notes.

bfulton@sltrib.com

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'The Cradle Will Rock'

When • March 23-31, 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinee March 31.

Where • Eccles Theater at Val A. Browning Center for the Arts, Weber State University, 3848 Harrison Blvd, Ogden

Tickets • $8-$11. Call 1-800-WSU-TIKS or visit http://www.weberstatetickets.com for more information.