SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> The present is colliding with the past at the Little Theatre in Saratoga Springs where Opera Saratoga is offering a fascinating production of Marc Blitzstein’s “The Cradle Will Rock.”
It is an achievement that breaks with custom by performing the work, which straddles the line between theater and classical, as the important opera that it is.
The approach is revelatory as it transforms a work that has had a major influence on Broadway musicals into an exciting and grand musical event, as well as a presentation that offers insights about the fears and torments of those who experienced the Great Depression.
“The Cradle Will Rock” is a pro-Labor, anti-capitalist work that tells how one dominantly wealthy man, Mr. Mister, controls the town of Steeltown, USA. An anti-union group operating as the organization the Liberty Committee is mistakenly arrested at a Labor rally and appears in night court. Also in court is Moll, a prostitute arrested for soliciting.
As the evening progresses, it becomes clear that the true prostitutes are the respected citizens, who for various reasons, let themselves become pawns of Mr. Mister. During the performance doctors, the clergy, academia, the small independent businessman and artists reveal themselves as greedy and cowardly citizens concerned for their own personal welfare.
Considering the original work was first produced at the height of the Great Depression, it is understandable that this powerful and potentially inflammatory material was repressed by the government. The performers…
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