Patti LuPone Set to Play 'Moll' in THE CRADLE WILL ROCK Benefit Concert for The Acting Company, 5/19
Patti LuPone steps 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 will benefit 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) will direct; Michael Barrett (Caramoor, NY Festival of Song) will again serve as musical director and play the score as he did in the 1980's production. Tickets will go on sale next month; information on benefit tickets including dinner with Ms. LuPone and the cast is available from 212-258-3111.
"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.
Via archival footage, John Houseman will open the May 19 performance telling how he, 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 are Acting Company Alumni spanning its 41 years. Randle Mell, David Schramm (Finian's Rainbow, TV's Wings), Tom Robbins (Newsies, The Lion King), Henry Stram (Public's Antony and Cleopatra), Brian Reddy (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Casey Biggs (TFANA's Hamlet), Mary Lou Rosato and Charles Shaw-Robinson will return along with other Acting Company Alums Derek Smith (The Dance of Death, The Lion King), Pamela Nyberg, Fred Arsenault (Born Yesterday, The Royal Family) and Suzy Kohane who will have just finished the Company's 2013-14 tour.
"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."
Founded by John Houseman, Margot Harley, Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, David Schramm and David Ogden Stiers in 1972, The Acting Company has toured 138 productions to 49 states and 10 foreign countries earning a TONY for Excellence in Theater, Obies, Audelcos and Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards. Rainn Wilson, Frances Conroy, Jeffrey Wright, Harriet Harris, Keith David, Hamish Linklater and Jesse L. Martin are but a handful of other performers who began their careers on tour with The Acting Company. The Company is on its 41st national tour of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, directed by John Rando, running in repertory with Hamlet (Ian Belknap directs).