Sept. 26, 2008
Whitworth Theatre to Present Marc Blitzstein's "The Cradle Will Rock"
WHO: Whitworth University Theatre Department
WHAT: Fall theatre production of Marc Blitzstein's "The Cradle Will Rock"
WHEN: Oct. 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 12, at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Cowles Auditorium at Whitworth University
COST: $7 general admission; $5 students and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased online at www.whitworth.edu/theatretickets. For more information, please call (509) 777-3707.
Written in 1937 by Marc Blitzstein as part of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Theatre Project, "The Cradle Will Rock" is a musical satire about union organization and societal corruption. Set in fictional Steeltown, USA, on the night of a labor union rally, the play critically examines corporate greed, media, and the arts, and draws from a variety of musical styles including vaudeville, blues, the music of Kurt Weill and American protest songs.
In light of the battles raging across the country between labor and management groups at that time, the federal government deemed the play too controversial and tried to shut down the opening-night production by sending armed guards to prevent anyone from entering the theatre. The acting company, under the direction of a young Orson Welles, found a vacant theatre and led a growing crowd of audience members through the streets of Manhattan to the new location. Since the actors were forbidden to perform the play on stage, Blitzstein planned to play and sing the show to the packed house by himself. The actors circumvented the ban, however, by performing from their seats throughout the theatre. "The Cradle Will Rock" became a hit and continued to run in the same manner night after night.
"This play is a brilliant exposé of hypocrisy and oppression that remains relevant to this day," says Diana Trotter, the play's director and associate professor of theatre at Whitworth. "Today's global economy is once again wrestling with labor issues, whether it's job outsourcing, pay equity for workers in developing countries, or, especially in the last few weeks, the tension between Main Street and Wall Street."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Jennifer Toulouse-Lee, theatre department program assistant, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or email@example.com.