Danny Burstein (Golden Boy), Raúl Esparza (Leap of Faith), Judy Kuhn (Passion), and Anika Noni Rose (Caroline, or Change) are among the actors who will star in Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, the upcoming inaugural presentation of New York City Center's Encores! new Off-Center series. Directed by Sam Gold, choreographed by Chase Brock, with musical direction by Chris Fenwick, the musical will play for five performances, July 10-13.
The company will also include Eisa Davis (The Call), Peter Friedman (The Great God Pan), Martin Moran (3 Kinds of Exile), Da'Vine Joy Randolph (What Rhymes With America), and Henry Stram (Inherit the Wind). Four additional cast members will be announced.
Featuring a book and score by Blitzstein, this legendary political musical is set against the backdrop of a steel strike and follows one man's efforts to unionize the town's workers and fight against the corrupt businessman who controls the community. Written and first produced in 1937 as part of the Federal Theatre Project, the original production was shut down by the WPA days before it was to open on Broadway. While the official reasoning was budget cuts, many believed the shutdown was due to the government's fear of the show's pro-union message. The show went on, with Blitzstein famously accompanying the cast, situated in the audience on a single piano. A privately funded off-Broadway production opened later that year before finally moving to Broadway.
New York City Center will feature lobby conversations with artists in connection with the musical throughout its brief run. Cherry Jones, Lisa Kron, Oskar Eustis, and Taylor Mali are among those who will appear.