Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Cradle Will Rock: Original 1985 Cast Recording
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock is now remembered mainly for its dramatic opening night, immortalized in Tim Robbins's film of the same name. (Circumventing a ban on the show, director Orson Welles led the cast int... more »
Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock is now remembered mainly for its dramatic opening night, immortalized in Tim Robbins's film of the same name. (Circumventing a ban on the show, director Orson Welles led the cast into an impromptu performance, with Blitzstein himself at the piano.) But this essential recording, only the second of Cradle in its entirety (along with the 1994 Los Angeles cast recording), reminds us that Blitzstein had written a grand, passionate show, one that brilliantly wove musical and spoken narratives into vignettes that formed a vibrant attack on capitalist greed and exploitation. This isn't your traditional escapist fare, but the story is truly gripping and still resonates today. Patti LuPone's heartwrenching interpretation of "The Nickel Under Your Foot" easily ranks among her finest moments. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Best recording of this work to date, better than the film
Thomas G. Kohn | Dayton, OH USA | 12/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This excellent recording is a document of the 1985 Acting Company production that was directed by John Houseman, who provides a 12-minute spoken introduction to the recording on a separate CD. Houseman's introduction has much less interest on the second and later listening, and it seems to be a waste to leave that CD with only that short amount of recorded time. The second CD contains all the music of the play, some 79 minutes.Patti Lupone is an intriguing casting choice for Moll, for Lupone has all the range and stamina and charisma necessary to carry a leading role. However, the role of Moll is a key minor character that Lupone reveals in this recording a full dimensionality that is not available in the other recordings of Cradle Will Rock: not just the tough cookie paradigm of the prostitute, but also the naïf in the midst of wolves, down on her luck. And such a lot of wolves there are, fully revealed in this recording: Reverend Salvation's costume covers another form of prostitution; Cops stand everywhere with a palm ready for greasing; Editor Daily acts not only as a publisher but also as a pimp and procurer. The performances make the characters full of life and their personalities more rounded than one would expect from their generic names, Dr. Specialist; Jr. Mister; and the rogue above all, Mr. Mister. It is easy to assume the entire script is included in the recording, as smooth editing has obliterated any breaks. One indication that cutting may have occurred is the late appearance of Larry Foreman, in Scene Seven, à la Waiting For Godot.Miking of the cast is very satisfactory, especially in comparison to the recording of the original Broadway Cast. All vocal lines are distinct. As in the other recordings, a simple piano accompaniment is retained from the original performance, even though a careful listening reveals clearly that the original was scored for a small orchestra.The performances are a good blend of musicality and character. The accompaniment shows Blitzstein's familiarity with classical music, Sprechstimme, the musical theatre of Weill/Brecht, and, of course, popular song. This recording strengthens the artistic concept that Blitzstein had developed, and it provides reason for our sense of loss with Blitzstein's relative absence from the concert stage and theatre revivals. Perhaps we will be always lucky to have other composers like Stephen Sondheim, who must have been familiar enough with "Art For Art's Sake" (Scene Six) to use it as an inspiration for "Putting It Together" of Sunday In the Park With George. Too bad that Andrew Lloyd Weber hasn't the same awareness of good precursors."
A Re-Discovered Treasure
Stephen F. Davids | Elk Grove, CA United States | 02/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thanks to Tim Robbins' movie, this gutsy left-wing anthem is being re-discovered, and in my case discovered for the first time. I can't compare this production to others, but the performances here contained the same passion and energy as those in the film. Patty Lupone, as usual, is first-rate. More important, this production makes us appreciate the vitality and eclecticism of Blitzstein's remarkable score, and makes us understand why he is credited with influencing Bernstein and Sondheim. The timelessness of the music allows us to overlook the somewhat dated nature of the material. As a bonus, this recording also gives us John Houseman's introduction, which provides some interesting tidbits about the world premiere that were not covered in the movie."
More "Cradle" than you think
Malcolm E. Bowes | INDIANA, PA United States | 01/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There have been many successful revivals of this work than many think. Bernstein did it with piano in the late forties, then conducted the first production with Blitzstein's full pit later. Another recorded production (1964: MGM Records) most may have forgotten because it is out of print was one directed by Howard DaSilva (the original Larry Foreman) done with piano with none other than Jerry Orbach as Larry: who better to play Larry Foreman than Lenny Brisco. The great Micki Grant, Joe Bova, and Laurie Peters are also in it. Alas, hard to find but this is NOT a newly re-discovered work by any stretch."