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UW Drama to Open 75th Anniversary Season with THE CRADLE WILL ROCK

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The University of Washington School of Drama launches their 75th Anniversary Season with Marc Blitzstein's infamous musical The Cradle Will Rock. Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, this all-school production features the talents of the school's students, alumni, and faculty, as well as members of the larger theatre community.

Valerie Curtis-Newton is herself an alum of the School's MFA directing program. Other alums involved include scenic designer Jennifer Zeyl, music director & faculty member Scott Hafso, and performers Andrew McMasters, Jonathan Shue, and Andrea Salaiz. They are joined on stage by faculty members Jeffrey Fracé, L. Zane Jones, Cathy Madden, and Judith Shahn, along with musician Jose Gonzales and Intiman artistic director Andrew Russell.

The Cradle Will Rock is a biting critique of corruption, unrestrained capitalism, and income inequality as relevant today as it was when it was first produced in 1937. Set in "Steeltown, USA," the story follows the efforts of Larry Foreman to unionize local workers and combat wicked, greedy businessman Mr. Mister, who controls the town's factory, press, church, and social organizations.

The Cradle Will Rock has a rich history in the American theatre. The original production in 1937, directed by Orson Welles and produced by John Houseman, was temporarily shut down by the WPA a few days before it was to open on Broadway. Many asserted that the musical had been censored because the pro-union plot was "too radical." To avoid government and union restrictions, the show was performed with Marc Blitzstein playing piano onstage and the cast members singing their parts from the audience.

"The Cradle Will Rock reflects an important period in our nation's history," states Curtis-Newton. "The 1930s were a time of great social dynamism. A mood of activism swept the country, planting the seeds of the great social movements of our time. The Civil Rights, Labor, and Feminist movements are all rooted in this period. Though it was written over 75 years ago, the heart of this play continues to beat strong; that America's struggle with income inequality, corruption, class, and poverty continue to merit examination. Like all artists who believe that art has power, my hope is that this artistic visit to America's past will give us some new insights as we struggle to keep history from repeating itself."

The Cradle Will Rock previews October 28 and 29 and runs October 30 - November 8. Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets range from $10-20 and are available online or over the phone through the ArtsUW Ticket Office, 206-543-4880 / drama.uw.edu/performances. The ArtsUW Ticket Office is located at 1313 NE 41st Street, open Monday-Friday, 11 am-6 pm.

Performances are in the Jones Playhouse, located at 4045 University Way NE in Seattle's University District.


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