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Week 5 -Play Discussion 3: A Cradle

The original production of The Cradle Will Rock was shut down four days before its opening by the WPA, which stated that due to budget cuts, the WPA was reorganizing its arts projects, and all openings of WPA plays, musicals, concerts, and art galleries were to be delayed until after July 1. Many including those involved in the production asserted that the musical had been censored because the pro-union plot was “too radical”. The real reason may never be known. What do you think? Do you think that the play was ‘too radical’ for its time? Do you think that a play such as this one could cause people raise up? Is any popular entertainment or art that powerful? Does the government have a obligation stop art work or theatre that might cause a public upraising?

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John Houseman painted such a phenomenal picture of what conspired in 1937 with this production restraint ‘The Cradle Will Rock’ suffered. I have to give major credit to Blitzstein for being as brave as he was and his persistence to get on stage to play the piano. It was not much, but it was enough to raise a defiant audience to their feet for applause. To think that it took nearly40 years to get this production out to the world and only an exclusive collection of people were able to see the show for the ten days it ran. Knowing that they took the rebellious route, stood their ground, and went forth with the production is remarkable. I feel like, given everything that government does, there is no room for officials to cast a shadow of judgment on a theater production and put it to a halt. Will every production be innocent and simply pleasant for all audiences? No. If a warning label, like at rated R movies, needs to be slapped outside the theater then so be it. Theater is art and art is empowering. Although Scene 3: Mission depicted a

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