The Blank Theatre Company’s production of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock is still as fresh and funny as when it was first produced in 1937. Directed by Founding Artistic Director Daniel Henning the highly entertaining show, which opened on Saturday, February 12, 2011features a stellar and energetic cast marvelously accompanied by Music Director David O on an upright piano.
More a satiric opera or operetta than a traditional musical, Cradle is set in Steeltown, USA in 1937 with flashbacks to 1915, 1916 and 1917. Although the focus of the story is the early struggle of labor unions to establish protection for their members and those who were dead set against letting that happen, the greed, corruption, optimism and perseverance at the heart of the tale resonate with current events.
Kurt Boetcher’s virtually empty stage works well with Henning’s staging, JC Gafford’s effective lighting design and Naila Alladin Sanders’ colorful period costumes.
Who can resist such nefarious characters as Mr. Mister (Peter Van Norden), Mrs. Mister (Gigi Bermingham), Sister Mister (Meagan Smith) and Junior Mister (Adam Wylie), not to mention Liberty Committee members Dr. Specialist (Rob Roy Cesar), Reverend Salvation (Christopher Carroll), Editor Daily (David Trice), President Prexy (Matthew Patrick Davis), Professor Scoot (Mike Hawley), Professor Mamie (Matt Wolpe) and Professor Trixie (Will Barker)?
Equally appealing in more sympathetic roles were Rex Smith as Larry Foreman, Wolpe and Penelope Yates as Gus and Sadie Polock, Mikey Hawley as Stevie, Jack Laufer as Harry Druggist, Tiffany C. Adams as Moll, Lowe Taylor as Ella Hammer, Jim Holdrige as Sasha the violist, Roland Rusinek as Dauber the artist and Barker as Bugs.
Harmonies in Oh What a Filthy Night Court (Liberty Committee) and The Cradle Will Rock (ensemble) were rich and vibrant. Especially fun was Art for Art’s Sake sung and danced with aplomb by Bermingham, Holdridge and Rusinek as Dauber the artist.
The Cradle Will Rock performs 8 p.m.Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m.Sunday through March 20. Tickets are $30, Thursday and Sunday and $34.99 Friday and Saturday. Call 323-661-9827 or visit www.TheBlank.com. For group sales, call (323) 871-8018.
The Stella Adler Theatre is located at 6773 Hollywood Boulevard(2nd Floor), in Hollywood. Validated parking ($2) is available at the Hollywoodand Highlandcomplex.
Send questions, comments and suggestions to [email protected]
For more information: www.TheBlank.com