The Cradle Will Rock - 1981

program cover

The UCLA Department of Music, Committee on Fine Arts Productions
And the UCLA Musical Theater Workshop presents

The Cradle Will Rock
a play in music by
Marc Blitzstein

Directed by John Hall

February 6,7,11-14,19 &20, 1981 @ 8:30pm
February 8 & 15 @2:30pm

Little Theater
Schoenberg Hall, UCLA


As a young man Marc Blitzstein had been an avant-garde composer of concert music. The great depression of the 1930’s changed him to a man with a strong sense of social injustice and some frankly leftist political views. Both of these characteristics are found in his “play in music” The Cradle Will Rock, and it was these characteristics that brought government officials to attempt to block its premiere in 1937.

Originally planned as a full scale musical with scenery, orchestra and costumes, the company and first night audience found themselves locked out of the theater by Federal order. A frantic search found an empty theater nearby, and the cast and audience assembled to hear the work on a bare stage with the composer playing an upright piano. Strangely enough, this bare minimum premiere seemed to suit the piece which is a mixture of pop song, blues, vaudeville sketches, and a special kind of out of sync melody that is uniquely Blitzstein.

The story is told through a series of flashbacks in a nightcourt in Steeltown, U.S.A. A young prostitute has been picked up along with Steeltown’s leading citizens the Liberty Committee, a puppet organization set up by Mr. Mister (the symbol of capitalism). Through these flashbacks we see who the real whores are. It is the Liberty Committee representing education, the arts, medicine, the press, etc. who have sold out to Mr. Mister for security that are the true prostitutes. This rather serious message is packed in a work that is both entertaining and provoking.

Described by Virgil Thomson as “the most appealing operatic socialism since Louise,” we know that with its message and structure we can see the influence of Kurt Weill and Bert Brecht (to whom the piece is dedicated), but with its sharply humorous text and parodistic tunes it remains a milestone in American Musical Theater. – John Hall

Musical Numbers

A play in music by Marc Blitzstein

The action takes place in Steeltown, U.S.A., on the night of a union drive.


Scene 1:
Street corner
Moll, Gent, Dick, Liberty Committee, Cop

Scene 2:
Night court
Moll, Dick, Liberty Committee, Cop, Clerk, Harry Druggist

Scene 3:
Reverend Salvation, Mrs. Mister

Scene 4:
Lawn of Mr. Mister’s home
Junior and Sister Mister, Mr. Mister, Editor Daily

Scene 5:
Harry Druggist, Steve, Bugs, Sadie and Gus Polock

Scene 6:
Hotel lobby
Yasha, Dauber, Mrs. Mister


Scene 7:
Night court
Moll, Cop, Larry Foreman, Liberty Committee, Clerk

Scene 8:
Faculty room
President Prexy, Mr. Mister, Professors Mamie, Scoot, and Trixie

Scene 9:
Dr. Specialist’s office
Mr. Mister, Dr. Specialist, Ella Hammer, Reporters

Scene 10:
Night court
Larry Foreman, Moll, Liberty Committee, Mr. Mister


Ann Ainsworth (6,8,12,14,19)
Arden Lewis (7,11,13,15,20)

Jim Reeder

Ricco Ross

Joe Cornicelli

Reverend Salvation
Steve Steinberg

Editor Daily
John Ferdenzi

Lucas Richman

Steve Fickinger

President Prexy
Judy Berkowitz

Professor Trixie
Paul Townsend

Dr. Specialist
Paul Wong

Harry Druggist
Jim Ward

Mr. Mister
Glenn Rosenblum

Mrs. Mister
Pamela Lloyd

Junior Mister
Paul Townsend

Sister Mister
Martha Swartz

Casey Nicholaw

Sadie Polock
Allison Ehlers

Gus Polock
Jim Reeder

Larry Foreman
Scot Reese

Professor Scoot
Jason Ma

Ella Hamer
Lynn Jackson

Reporter and Professor Mamie
Jeff Osser

Steve Fickinger

Jason Ma

David Foster


John Hall

Musical Preparation
Joan Colman, Lucas Richman

Scenic and Lighting Design
Archie Sharp

Production Coordinator
Kathleen Moon

Stage Manager
Jerry Kurtz

Carol Vane

Movement Consultant
Steve Fickinger

David Foster


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