Sinister steel baron Mr. Mister has all of Steeltown in a stranglehold, and union advocate Larry Foreman is on a mission to take down the ironfisted businessman in Marc Blitzstein’s Broadway musical “The Cradle Will Rock,” which will soon take the stage at Northwestern.
“It’s a very wacky, very physical musical comedy,,” said theater professor Robert Hubbard, who is directing the production. “If you like The Daily Show or the Colbert Report, this is in that spirit.”
Written in the 1930s, the stylized play is a social commentary on big business and other social powers.
In addition to the infamous character Mr. Mister, played by sophomore Isaiah Custer, and the hero Larry Foreman, played by senior Andrew Stam, the cast of allegorical characters includes Reverend Salvation, played by senior Joel Koster, Editor Daily, played by sophomore Tiffany Hach and Dr. Specialist, played by freshman Anders Lewis.
“It’s amusing and it’s funny, but it’s also very relevant,” said cast member Ali Sondreal, a junior at NW.
The play’s themes of corporate greed and union busting are echoed in the present day by the Occupy movement’s protest against economic and social inequality.
“The play makes fun of people in power by taking stereotypes and blowing them out of proportion,” said cast member and NW junior Abby Bierly. Just a look at the character’s name give a clue at how the musical plays with our view of stereotypes.
Almost entirely sung-through, “The Cradle Will Rock” more closely resembles an operetta than the more familiar genre of musicals popularized by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
“The Cradle Will Rock” will be performed Feb. 16, 18 and 22-25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theater. Tickets, which are free for Northwestern students, can be reserved from the box office by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org .