That Marc Blitzstein's 1937 operetta The Cradle Will Rock is inescapably linked to the circumstances of its celebrated opening is attested to by the inclusion of director John Houseman's 12-minute introduction (making up the first of two discs) to this 1985 cast recording. Sponsored by a government theater organization at the height of the Depression, it was canceled due to its pro-union message, but mounted nevertheless with Blitzstein alone onstage at a piano and members of the cast in the audience. That effect is somewhat reproduced here by the use of a piano as the sole accompaniment. The show is an allegory about union organizing and corruption, its characters archetypes. Musically, Blitzstein's obvious influence is Kurt Weill. Though dated, the work remains powerful, especially because of the accomplished cast, which includes Patti Lupone.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1