PATTI LUPONE REPRISED HER OLIVIER AWARD-WINNING ROLE
ONE NIGHT ONLY BENEFIT—MAY 19, 2014
JOHN HOUSEMAN’S CRADLE ROCKED ONCE MORE WITH HIS SPECTACULAR 1985 CAST
Patti LuPone stepped back into the role that led to her 1985 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical as Moll in The Cradle Will Rock on Monday, May 19, 7pm at Broadway’s Bernard Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street. The concert staging of Marc Blitzstein’s iconic work benefited The Acting Company, co-founded by John Houseman, Cradle’s original producer in 1937, who directed Ms. LuPone and a cast of Acting Company Alumni in a revival almost 50 years later. Lonny Price (Lincoln Center’s Sweeney Todd and Company) directed this 2014 production; Michael Barrett (Caramoor, NY Festival of Song) served as musical director and played the score as he did in the 1980’s production.
“Cradle is an amazing piece of theater, a legendary piece of theater history and a show that is still relevant today,” said Ms. LuPone. “Blitzstein described it as part Gilbert and Sullivan, part Brecht, part Weill but it also included popular song styles of the time.” It was first developed by Acting Company co-founder John Houseman and directed by Orson Welles in 1937 as part of the WPA’s Classic Unit of the Federal Theater. When production was abruptly stopped, it became a project of their famed Mercury Theater.
The cast opened the May 2014 performance telling how John Houseman, Orson Welles and Marc Blitzstein overcame the federal government’s attempted shutdown of the piece when someone in Congress concluded that the material was antiestablishment. Houseman repeated that story at the beginning of each performance of his 1980’s Acting Company production both in New York and at London’s Old Vic.
Joining Patti LuPone and Michael Barrett were Acting Company Alumni spanning its 41 years. Randle Mell, David Schramm (Finian’s Rainbow, TV’s Wings), Tom Robbins (Newsies, The Lion King), Brian Reddy (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Casey Biggs (TFANA’s Hamlet), Denise Woods and Mary Lou Rosato will return along with other Acting Company Alums Derek Smith (The Dance of Death, The Lion King), Dakin Matthews (Rocky, The Best Man), Fred Arsenault (Born Yesterday, The Royal Family), Johann Carlo, Todd Cerveris, Grant Fletcher Prewitt and Joshua Johnston and Suzy Kohane who performed on tour with The Acting Company in the 2013-14 season.
A special CAST DINNER followed the performance.
“The Cradle Will Rock, set in ‘Steeltown, USA’ focuses on the efforts of the town's workers to combat a greedy businessman who controls the town's factory, press, church and social organization,” said Margot Harley, The Acting Company Producer and co-founder. “I know that audiences will thrill to it as they have in the past. It is first-rate theater and our cast of Broadway regulars will find even richer meanings today.”
Watch John Houseman’s introduction to this legendary work: