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John Doyle directs Marc Blitzstein's pro-labor play in music "The Cradle Will Rock" at CSC, Mar 21-May 19
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 05:18 pm EST 02/05/19

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY PRESENTS MARC BLITZSTEIN’S PRO-LABOR AMERICAN PLAY IN MUSIC THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, DIRECTED BY JOHN DOYLE, MARCH 21-MAY 19, 2019

Cast Includes Ken Barnett, Eddie Cooper, Benjamin Eakeley, David Garrison, Ian Lowe, Kara Mikula, Lara Pulver, Sally Ann Triplett, Rema Webb, and Tony Yazbeck

Classic Stage Company (CSC; Artistic Director, John Doyle) presents Marc Blitzstein’s allegorical play in music The Cradle Will Rock, directed by John Doyle, March 21 - May 19, 2019. A Depression-era indictment of rampant capitalism told almost entirely in song, The Cradle Will Rock maintains a twinkle in its eye while bearing sharp fangs. The 1937 premiere of this story of American class tensions—directed by Orson Welles—was famously shut down on the eve of opening night by federal authorities over so-called “budget cuts,” commonly considered a thin veil for fears of the play’s pro-labor stance. The artists involved rebelliously circumvented its cancellation, making for one of the most memorable stories in 20th century theater history. While Blitzstein’s libretto is very much a product of its own 1930s political context, The Cradle Will Rock pulses with immediacy in an era of expanding economic inequality and policy for purchase. CSC’s 2018-2019 season began with The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht’s allegory about the rise of fascism via a charismatic tyrant; this spring, it closes with an all-American Brecht-and-Weill-inspired work, which carries a message of defiance built into its very title.

Despite The Cradle Will Rock being an unwavering work of political theater, director John Doyle notes: “There are actually quite a few laughs. It’s like an American piece of German cabaret—rough and ready—like something you would do in a pub, and I think there’s something really thrillingly exciting about that. Of course it’s not all laugh-a-minute pastiche. Blitzstein gets at the heart of how people act when the world doesn’t treat them well—when they haven’t got enough money, when they can’t get food stamps. He is saying that people will rise up; there comes a point when people say ‘no, enough.’”

The cast features Ken Barnett (“Mozart in the Jungle,” Fun Home) as Editor Daily, Eddie Cooper (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, This Ain’t No Disco) as Junior Mister, Benjamin Eakeley(She Loves Me, Cabaret) as Reverend Salvation, Tony Award nominee David Garrison (Dead Poets Society, The Visit) as Mr. Mister, Ian Lowe(Murder for Two, Nikolai and the Others) as Yasha, Kara Mikula(Allegro, White Christmas) as Sister Mister, Olivier Award winner Lara Pulver (Gypsy in London, “Sherlock”) as Moll, Sally Ann Triplett(Sweeney Todd at Barrow Street, The Last Ship) as Mrs. Mister, Rema Webb(The Color Purple, Violet) as Ella, and Tony Award nomineeTony Yazbeck (On The Town, Prince of Broadway) as Larry Foreman.

The creative team includes scenic designer John Doyle, costume designer Anne Hould-Ward, lighting designers Jane Cox and Tess James, and music supervisor Greg Jarrett.

The Cradle Will Rock takes place in Steeltown, USA, where laborer Larry Foreman struggles to unionize fellow steel workers against mounting attacks from a greedy industrialist, a certain Mister Mister. As a cross-section of society shows up in a night court, the extent to which Mister Mister has bought the support and control of nearly all people—the editor of the local newspaper; the preacher; the doctor; artists—and institutions becomes brazenly apparent.

Created by Blitzstein through the Federal Theater Project, the Orson Welles-directed premiere production of The Cradle Will Rock was scheduled to open at Broadway’s Maxine Elliott Theatre—but was shut down by the WPA (which itself had been catching heat from conservatives) just before. Armed guards arrived at the scene, blocking use of the theatre and ensuring no one could bring costumes and sets elsewhere. The day of the opening, Blitzstein, Welles, and producer John Houseman quickly found another venue—and performers and audience members traveled on foot, 20 blocks uptown, to the much larger 1,700-seat Venice Theatre. In something of a thematically complicating twist, the actors’ union had restricted the cast from performing the play onstage in a non-Federal Theater Project-sanctioned venue—but nothing barred them from performing the pro-union play offstage, from the audience. It was a collaborative master-work of circumvention: Blitzstein played piano from the stage as costume-less, prop-less, but no less spirited actors sang from the audience and gave life to The Cradle Will Rock.

Schedule and Tickets

Performances of The Cradle Will Rock take place at Classic Stage Company (136 E 13th St, New York), with previews beginningThursday, March 21. The production opens Wednesday, April 3 and closes Sunday, May 19. Performance times are Tues.–Thurs. at 7pm, Fri.–Sat. at 8pm, and Sat.–Sun. at 2pm.

There will be a Saturday Symposium April 27, Tuesday Talkback April 16, and a Student Matinee for Thursday, May 9.

Tickets are currently on sale to members and the general public. Members receive the best prices, flexibility, exclusive benefits, and invitations to special events throughout the season. Memberships begin at $50 ($25 for Students). For more information visit classicstage.org or call 212.677.4210.

Single tickets ($75 previews, $80 post opening, $125 prime) can be purchased at classicstage.org or 212-352-3101(or toll free 866-811-411).

About the Cast

Ken Barnett (Editor Daily) Broadway: Fun Home, Wonderful Town, The Green Bird. Off-Broadway: America is Hard to See (HERE), St Vincent’s Project (Rattlestick), The Light Years (Playwrights’ Horizons); Plenty, Fortress of Solitude, February House (Public Theater); Too Much Sun (Vineyard); La Ronde (HERE--Best Actor, Fringe Award). Regional: The Waves, Private Lives, True West, Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (CT Critic’s Circle Award/San Diego Critics Circle Nomination), February House (CT Critics Circle Award), Next Fall, Burn This, Merrily We Roll Along.Recent TV: "Godfather of Harlem,” “The Good Fight,” “American Crime Story: Versacem” Christophe on “Mozart in the Jungle,” “House of Cards,” “High Maintenance.” Films include Lavender (Sundance 2019, acquired by Fox Searchlight), Radio Killer, Admission, People Like Us, Puccini for Beginners. www.kenbarnett.net & @kbnyc

Eddie Cooper (Junior Mister) is thrilled to be returning to CSC where he was last seen as Roma in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Atlantic Company - This Ain't No Disco (The D.A.). Bucks County Playhouse - The New World (Miles Standish). Assassins- his 3rd show at Encores! Off Center following God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Jerome) and Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II). Two Rivers Theater - all male A Funny Thing Happened (Domina). TV: “Delco Proper,” “Forever,” “Mozart In The Jungle,” recurring on Cinemax’s “Banshee” as Fat Au and HBO’s Emmy nominated “The Night Of.” Thanks to my family and friends for their love and support. @MrEddieCooper

Benjamin Eakeley (Reverend Salvation) is excited to be making his CSC debut! Broadway: She Loves Me, Cabaret, On a Clear Day and John Doyle’s Sweeney Todd. National Tours: Cabaret (Clifford Bradshaw) and Sweeney Todd (The Beadle). Regional work includes 4 seasons at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and productions at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Goodspeed, Pioneer, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Engeman. Film/TV: 6 feature films, “Orange Is The New Black,” “The Blacklist,” “The Good Wife.” Awards: New York Drama Critics’ Circle Special Citation (Sweeney Todd); Astaire Award Nomination (She Loves Me); and he was a National Finalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition for Singers. His jazz cabaret series, Broadway Swinger, Vols. 1 and 2, tell the story of American history through popular song. Graduate of Yale.

David Garrison (Mr. Mister) On/Off-Broadway: A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (Tony nomination), I Do! I Do! (Drama Desk nomination), Wicked (Carbonell Award), Titanic, The Visit, The Pirates of Penzance, Torch Song Trilogy, Dead Poets Society, Geniuses, Middletown, New Jerusalem, It’s Only a Play, Silence! The Musical. Regional: Merrily We Roll Along (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes Award), Randy Newman’s Faust (LaJolla/Goodman), Travesties (Williamstown), Die Fledermaus (Santa Fe Opera), Candide (Glimmerglass). TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “The Good Wife,” “30 Rock,”“Madame Secretary,” “NYPD Blue,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Murphy Brown,” “Law and Order,” “The Practice,” “The West Wing,” Steve Rhoades on “Married With Children.”

Ian Lowe (Yasha) New York: Nikolai & The Others (Lincoln Center Theatre), Murder for Two (New World Stages), UnCivil War (NYMF) The Day Before Spring (York, Mufti Series). National Tour: Murder for Two (Old Globe, Long Wharf, Denver Center, etc). Other Regional: Geva Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Capital Rep, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Cape Playhouse, Weston Playhouse, Houston TUTS, Adirondack Theatre Festival, many others. TV: Pose (FX Networks), lots of commercials and voice-overs. BA, Yale University. www.theianlowe.com

Kara Mikula (Sister Mister) At Classic Stage Company: Allegro (understudied all 6 female actor/musicians and performed Marjorie), directed by John Doyle. Pre-Broadway: Fancy – A New Musical, directed by Denis Jones; The SpongeBob Squarepants Musical, directed by Tina Landau. National Tours: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Mrs. Snoring Man; understudied and performed Martha Watson). Regional: Arizona Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Ogunquit Playhouse, Pittsburgh CLO, Riverside Theatre (Vero Beach), Capital Repertory Theatre, KC Starlight, The Gateway, and more. Thanks to Eddie at Take3Talent and to John for this opportunity. For my family. Proud member of AEA. www.karamikula.com

Lara Pulver (Moll) is an Olivier Award winner for her portrayal of “Louise” in the critically acclaimed West End 2015 revival of Gypsy. Other theatre credits include Guys and Dolls (Royal Albert Hall), Parade (Donmar Warehouse - Olivier Award nomination, Mark Taper Forum) and Uncle Vanya (Chichester Festival Theatre). TV includes “Irene Adler” in the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre Sherlock opposite Benedict Cumberbatch (where she was nominated for a Critics Choice Award), Electric Dreams, Da Vinci’s Demons, Fleming, True Blood, Spooks, Robin Hood and many more. Film includes Edge of Tomorrow, The Special Relationship and Underworld.

Sally Ann Triplett (Mrs. Mister) Broadway: Carrie (original Sue Snell), The Last Ship (original Peggy White), Finding Neverland (Madame De Maurier). Off-Broadway: Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett, Barrow Street) Must. West End: Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney, What’sOn Stage award), Guys And Dolls (Miss Adelaide), Chicago (Roxie Hart), Mamma Mia (Donna Sheridan), Cats (Grizabella), Grease (Rizzo), Jolson (Ruby Keeler), Acorn Antiques (Miss Berta), Viva Forever (Lauren), Follies (Young Phyllis), The Villains Opera (Mrs Big, National Theatre), Chess (original cast). Select Regional: Take Flight (Chocolate Factory) Damsel In Distress (Chichester), Next To Normal (Diana Goodman), Cabaret (Sally Bowles). TV: “EastEnders,” “Doctors,” “The Bill,” “Down To Earth.”

Rema Webb (Ella) recently appeared on Broadway as Marley in Escape to Margaritaville. Other Broadway credits: The Color Purple, Violet, A New Brain at Encores! Off-Center, The Lion King, The Book of MormonandRagtime. Favorite regional: You’re Standing In My Way: A New Song Cycle; The Colored Museum; Being Alive. Film: Sudden Death, First Born, Beloved, The Sound of Music Live. Rema is proud of her one-woman-show Children Will Listen. She is the Founder & Executive Director of a conservatory non-profit organization.... On Broadway Performing Arts Training Program (www.onbroadway-patp.com). @remawebb

Tony Yazbeck (Larry Foreman) Broadway: Prince of Broadway (Chita Rivera Award; Drama Desk; Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), On The Town (Astaire Award; Tony, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), Finding Neverland, Chicago, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Gypsy (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), A Chorus Line, Oklahoma!, Never Gonna Dance. Off-Broadway: The Beast in the Jungle, Crazy For You, Fanny Hill. Encores!: A Chorus Line, Little Me, On the Town, Gypsy, The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English. Regional: Goodspeed (Connecticut Critics Circle Award), Signature (Helen Hayes Award). TV: Smash, Billions. His debut album, "The Floor Above Me" on PS Classics.

About the Creative Team

John Doyle (Director, Scenic Design) first joined CSC in 2013 as Associate Director, and became Artistic Director in 2016. He has directed productions of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (2018), Carmen Jones (2018), Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures (2017) and Passion (2013, Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro (2014, Drama League Nomination, Best Revival of a Musical), as well as Dead Poets Society (2016), Peer Gynt (2016), and As You Like It (2017).

Additional theater in the U.S. includes: The Color Purple (Tony Award, Best Revival of a Musical; Drama Desk Award, Best Director of a Musical), Sweeney Todd (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, Best Director of a Musical; Drama Desk Nomination Outstanding Set Design of a Musical), Company (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Awards Best Musical Revival; Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, Outstanding Director of a Musical), A Catered Affair (Drama League Award, Best Musical Production; Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), The Visit (Tony Nomination, Best Musical; Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), Ten Cents a Dance (Williamstown/McCarter), The Exorcist (The Geffen, LA), Road Show (Public Theater/Menier Chocolate Factory), Where’s Charlie? and Irma La Douce (Encores!), Wings (Second Stage), A Bed and a Chair (City Center), Kiss Me Kate (Stratford), Caucasian Chalk Circle (A.C.T.), Merrily We Roll Along and Three Sisters (Cincinnati).

In the U.K., John Doyle has been Artistic Director of four regional theaters: The Worcester Swan, The Cheltenham Everyman, The Liverpool Everyman, The York Theatre Royal, and was also Associate Director of the Watermill Theatre, Newbury. During these residencies, he directed numerous productions of new and classic works. Notable credits include: Female Parts, Sweeney Todd, Gondoliers, Mack and Mabel (West End), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Oklahoma! (Chichester), Amadeus (Wilton’s Music Hall), The Millenium Cylce of Mystery Plays (London), Carmen, Fiddler on the Roof (Watermill), The War of the Roses, The Madness of George III (York), The White Devil, Othello, Candide (Liverpool). He is co-author of Shakespeare For Dummies.

Ann Hould-Ward (Costume Designer) CSC: Arturo Ui, Passion, Allegro, Peer Gynt, Dead Poets Society, Pacific Overtures, As You Like It, Fire and Air. Select Broadway: The Color Purple, The Visit, The People in the Picture, A Free Man of Color (Drama Desk nom.), A Catered Affair (Drama Desk nom.), Beauty and the Beast (Tony Award), Into the Woods (Tony and Drama Desk noms), Falsettos, Sunday in the Park With George (Tony and Drama Desk noms), Saint Joan, Little Me. Other Off-Broadway: Notes from the Field, The Blue Flower, Russian Transport, Road Show, Lobster Alice, Cymbeline. Ms. Hould-Ward’s work can be seen in over 35 international companies of Beauty and the Beast, and her other designs are featured in shows all over the world. More than 100 regional theater credits. Recipient of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Patricia Zipprodt Award.

Jane Cox (Lighting Designer) CSC: Arturo Ui, Pacific Overtures, Peer Gynt, Allegro, Passion and Winter’s Tale. Broadway: Jitney (Tony nom.); Amelie, Color Purple (Drama Desk nom.); Machinal (Tony and Drama Desk nom); All the Way; Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic. Jane is a member of theMonica Bill Barnes Dance Company, has a long collaboration with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and is the director of the theater program at Princeton University.

Tess James (Lighting Designer) CSC: Arturo Ui. Tess James is a freelance Lighting Designer and Associate based in New York. Her recent projects as a designer include Roe at Asolo Rep and, as an associate designer, Soft Power at The Curran Theatre and The Public Theatre’s Othello; Throughout her career she has working with a array of amazing intuitions including BAM, New York City Center and the Sydney Opera House. She is currently an artist in residence at Princeton University.

Greg Jarrett (Music Supervisor) CSC: Pacific Overtures, Passion. Broadway: Gigi, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Dames at Sea, Side Show, Fun Home, The Nance. Off-Broadway: The Beast In The Jungle, Red Eye Of Love, Death Takes A Holiday. Encores! Off-Center: Gone Missing, Assassins, Runaways, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, The Cradle Will Rock, I’m Getting My Act Together... Upcoming: August Rush. Cast Albums: Beast In The Jungle, Gigi, Red Eye Of Love, Side Show, Side Show: Added Attractions. Education: The University of Michigan.

About Classic Stage Company

Classic Stage Company (CSC) is committed to reimagining classic stories for contemporary audiences. It is a home for New York’s finest established and emerging artists to grapple with great works of the world’s repertory that speak directly to the issues of today.

In 1967, director Christopher Martin founded CSC Repertory in a 100-seat theater at Rutgers Presbyterian Church on West 73rd Street. Following short stints in small spaces, CSC grew to the point where it needed a permanent home. In 1973, the theater moved to its present premises on 13th Street, an intimate space that was formerly an East Village carriage house.

In the 50 years since, CSC has become a leading Off-Broadway theater that is a home for new and established artists, as well audiences seeking epic stories intimately told. Productions have been cited by all major Off-Broadway theater awards including the Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.
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