Four-time Tony nominee Raul Esparza will return to the New York stage as Larry Foreman in Encores! staging ofThe Cradle Will Rock. Directed by Sam Gold and choreographed by Chase Brock, the inagurual production of Encores! Off Center series will play New York City Center July 10 through 13.
In addition to Esparza, the production will feature Danny Burstein as Mr. Mister, Anika Noni Rose as Moll/Mrs. Mister, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Ella Hammer, Judy Kuhn as Sadie/Editor Daily, Martin Moran as Yasha/Sister Mister, Eisa Davis as Reporter/Prof Scoot/Clerk/Dr. Specialist, Peter Friedman as Harry Druggist and Henry Stram as Dauber/Junior Mister. Chris Fenwick will musically direct.
The Cradle Will Rock, with music, lyrics and book by Marc Blitzstein, is set against the backdrop of a steel strike and peopled with fat-cat capitalists, brutal policemen, heroic union organizers, and a warm-hearted prostitute.
The show was developed in 1937 with funds from the Federal Theater Project, a branch of the WPA. The original production, directed by Orson Welles, was shut down four days before opening. Officially, it was shut down due to WPA budget cuts, but many cited the show’s pro-union themes as the government’s impetus for its closing. The musical finally opened off-Broadway at the Venice Theatre in June of 1937 with private funding. It next opened on Broadway at the Windsor Theater on January 3, 1938 and ran 108 performances.
Esparza received Tony nominations for his performances in Taboo, Company, Speed-the-Plow and The Homecoming. Burstein has been Tony nominated for Follies, Golden Boy, South Pacific and The Drowsy Chaperone. Noni Rose appeared in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls; she is a Tony winner for her performance in Caroline, or Change. Randolph received a Tony nomination for her role as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost. Kuhn was Tony nominated for She Loves Me, Les Miserables and Chess. Moran’s stage credits include All the Rage, The Tricky Part, Titanic, Cabaret and Floyd Collins. Friedman was Tony nominated for his role in Ragtime; his other credits include The Heidi Chronicles, Twelve Angry Men, Piaf and The Visit. Davis' credits include Passing Strange, Luck of the Irish and Hart of Dixie. Stram appeared on Broadway in Inherit the Wind, The Crucible and Titanic.