This is about the stage musical. For the film, see Cradle Will Rock.


The Cradle Will Rock.

The Cradle Will Rock is a Brechtian allegorical musical.



Moll, a tired and hungry prostitute, is arrested and jailed for refusing her services to a police officer loyal to Mr. Mister, who owns the steel factory and everything else in town. Members of the Liberty Committee, a group of prominent citizens who oppose the union, are also arrested, because a policeman mistook them for union organizers. At night court, Moll meets Harry Druggist, who is continually arrested for vagrancy after having lost his drugstore because of Mr. Mister.

Harry tells Moll that the Liberty Committee are bigger prostitutes than she is; he explains how they, and even himself, have sold out to Mr. Mister. In a series of flashbacks, we see this happen: Reverend Salvation is convinced by Mrs. Mister to make sermons on World War I that are convenient to the profits of the steel industry, Editor Daily of the Steeltown News is bullied into running stories against union organizer Larry Foreman and giving Mr. Mister's feckless son Junior Mister a correspondence job in Honolulu. Harry Druggist is strong-armed by one of Mr. Mister's henchmen into keeping quiet about a bomb planted in a car belonging to Gus Polack, an innocent immigrant steelworker who has joined the union. Harry's son Stevie is killed trying to save Gus and his pregnant wife from the blast.

More flashbacks show other Liberty Committee members selling out to Mr. Mister. The painter Dauber and the violinist Yasha work for Mrs. Mister, using their art to support her husband's ideals.

In the present, Larry Foreman is beaten by the police and jailed for "inciting to riot". He explains the principle behind unions, and says that the time is coming when "the cradle will rock" and overthrow Mr. Mister and others like him.

In another flashback, Mr. Mister has President Prexy and other faculty at Steeltown University get students to serve in the army. Doctor Specialist, Mr. Mister's personal doctor as well as the one that treated a worker who died in a machine accident, is threatened with the loss of his chairmanship of the Liberty Committee if he does not report that the worker was drunk. Ella Hammer, the worker's sister, knows that he was pushed, and angrily confronts the doctor.

When Mr. Mister arrives at night court to release the Liberty Committee, he offers Foreman a place on the Committee and a hefty bribe if he will give up his union activities. Foreman refuses: though a common man, he stands up to the corrupt forces of Mr. Mister. Mr. Mister feels that his monopoly may be slipping away. He confronts Foreman, but the workers are rising up.

Musical numbersEdit

Act I

  • "Moll's Song (I'm Checkin' Home Now) - Moll
  • "Moll and Gent" - Moll, Gent
  • "Moll and Dick" - Moll, Dick
  • "Moll and Druggist" - Moll, Harry Druggist
  • "Oh, What a Filthy Night Court!" - Editor Daily, President Prexie, Yasha, Dauber, Doctor Specialist, Reverend Salvation
  • "Mrs. Mister and Reverend Salvation" - Mrs. Mister, Reverend Salvation
  • "Croon Spoon" - Junior Mister, Sister Mister
  • "The Freedom of the Press" - Editor Daily, Mr. Mister
  • "Let's Do Something" - Junior Mister, Sister Mister
  • "Honolulu" - Editor Daily, Junior Mister, Mr. Mister, Sister Mister
  • "Drugstore Scene" - Druggist, Steve, Bugs
  • "Gus and Sadie Love Song" - Gus Polock and Sadie Polock

Act II

  • "The Rich" - Yasha, Dauber
  • "Ask Us Again" - Yasha, Dauber, Mrs. Mister
  • "Art for Art's Sake" - Yasha, Dauber
  • "Nickel Under the Foot" - Moll
  • "Leaflets" - Larry Foreman
  • "The Cradle Will Rock" - Larry Foreman
  • "Faculty Room Scene" - Mr. Mister, President Prexie, Professor Trixie, Professor Scoot
  • "Doctor and Ella" - Ella Hammer
  • "Joe Worker" - Ella Hammer
  • "Finale/The Cradle Will Rock (reprise)" - Larry Foreman, Ensemble

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