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The Cradle Will Rock

This summer, the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival will expand on its tradition of producing free professional productions with its first musical production, The Cradle Will Rock. In Marc Blitzstein's legendary musical, Larry Foreman and the workers of "Steeltown, U.S.A." take on the corrupt, corporate Mr. Mister and his Liberty Committee—a group of prominent members of the community paid to oppose organized labor.

This political allegory, while written in the 1930s, still finds resonance today. As director Joey Rizzolo points out, "In some ways, workers today are worse off than they were in 1937... if anything, people need to be reminded that the organized labor movement was something that defined America."

Director Joey Rizzolo, co-artistic director of the highly acclaimed New York City theater troupe the New York Neo-Futurists, is back for his second summer with OSTF, after appearing last year in the title role in Hamlet. "OSTF strikes a wonderful balance of creativity and available resources," he remarks. "OSTF operates at a professional level, but not at a level wherein creative solutions are sacrificed."

This creativity will be in full use when tackling OSTF's first musical. The Cradle Will Rock employs the didactic, stylized tradition of dramatist Bertolt Brecht. In order to capture the proper feel, Rizzolo has purchased clown noses for the company to use in rehearsal. "We may not use them in performance," he explains, "but the nose does something to the actor, and the result is at once delightful and grotesque, and I'd like that quality to translate into performance, with or without the nose as a costume piece."

Leading the ensemble of nineteen performers that are bringing this story about unions to life are four Cleveland-area union actors (members of Actors' Equity Association): Marc Moritz as the exploitative Mr. Mister, Dana Hart as the remorseful Harry the druggist, Matthew Wright as Editor Daily, and Darryl Lewis as Reverend Salvation. They will be joined by other area actors, including Katherine DeBoer as Mrs. Mister, and several returning OSTF company members: Donnie Sheldon, David Bugher, and Courtney Merrell.


All performances take place in Hall Auditorium.

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(Photos by John Seyfried)


Director Joey Rizzolo
Music Director Carter Sligh


Mr. Mister Marc Morritz*
Yasha William Hoffman
Dauber Ali Bianchi
President Prexy Aaron Mucciolo
Moll Courtney Merrell
Dr. Specialist Derrick Bean
Harry the Druggist Dana Hart*
Editor Daily Matthew Wright*
Reverend Salvation Darryl Lewis*
Cop David Bugher
Mrs. Mister Katherine DeBoer
Larry Foreman/Ensemble Donnie Sheldon
Jr. Mister/Bugs/Ensemble Billy Ferrer
Sadie/Ensemble Ellie Philips
Sister Mister/Professor Trixie/
Llewie Nuñez
Dick/Professor Mamie/
David Cotton
Ella Hammer/Ensemble Debra Rose
Gent/Professor Scoot/
Michael Cunningham
*This actor appears courtesy of The Actor's Equity Association.

For cast bios, see the complete company.