On the weekend of April 30, Concord Academy’s Performing Arts Department showcased another masterful performance with its spring mainstage, The Cradle Will Rock.
Written in 1937 by distinguished American composer Marc Blitzstein, the play is set in the fictional municipality of Steeltown. It details the rampant corruption present throughout the community, stemming from the sinister, powerful Mr. Mister (Brennan Biemann ’24) and his anti-union Liberty Committee. Opposing him are the everyday workers, led by the charismatic Larry Foreman (Ola Oladitan ’24).
While over eighty years removed from its creation, Cradle’s themes are far from irrelevant. “The plot points in [Cradle] are very relevant today,” says Jacob Sobol ’25, who plays Reverend Salvation and Gus. He emphasized the theme of unionization, which is particularly resonant with recent events across the nation. Caroline Shih ’25 emphasized the need to understand the play’s themes in order to present a great show. “We [needed] to actually understand Cradle before we put it on,” she told me, citing both the age of the play and the datedness of some of the language and themes as challenges the cast needed to confront. Thanks to their efforts, as well as an expansive glossary of terms assembled by Performing Arts Director Michael Bennett, Caroline believes that it “all came together […after] a while, allowing the mainstage to [carry] over well into the CA community.”
Clearly, taking the time and efforts to understand Cradle paid off. The mainstage’s array of talented actors and actresses delivered the work beautifully. Through a series of mesmerizing songs, the cast was able to convey a sense of deeper complexity of the play’s intricate themes. The result was a two-hour masterpiece that fired on all cylinders.
Cradle was more than just enjoyable for audiences. Throughout the three months of rehearsal, the cast developed a sense of camaraderie. “We had a very nice community going,” says Emma Somol ’23. “It was a very fun project to be a part of. The whole cast just got along so well. […] Everyone really wanted to be there, and everyone was just so happy to be involved.” Emma credits both the stage crew and cast, as well as the director, Sarah Shin, for the experience she describes as “a fantastic time.”
With the cast’s terrific experiences on set, along with audiences’ superb reviews of the play, it seems that The Cradle Will Rock was a monumental success on more than just one level.