orson welles features in the story of the Cradle That Rocked, about composer Marc Blitzstein

Episode One of Marc Blitzstein's story

Premières October 14th! The Cradle That Rocked

Composer Marc Blitzstein has been all but forgotten, but in the 1930s he was famous for his political musical, The Cradle Will Rock. Directed by Orson Welles, and banned by the Federal Government, the show was an instant hit.

Lotte Lenya, chanteuse extraordinaire

Episode 3 of Marc Blitzstein series -  Mack the Knife on Broadway

October 28th: Mack the Knife on Broadway

Kurt Weill wrote Threepenny Opera in German, but Marc Blitzstein’s brilliant english adaptation made it famous in New York. Hear Lotte Lenya and Louis Armstrong in an amazingly candid recording session!

John Mauceri, conductor

Episode 2 of Radio Documentary on Marc Blitzstein

October 21st: Love and Betrayal

In this episode, Guy Livingston tells the story of an opera, a missing symphony, and a stolen song. Featuring John Mauceri and the opera Regina, this is the story Marc Blitzstein, and his student, Leonard Bernstein. This is a story of love and betrayal.

Sara Fishko of WNYC features in this episode

Episode Four of our dramatic series on Marc Blitzstein - his murder, his unfinished opera - a tribute

November 4th: Anarchists at the Opera

In 1964, composer Marc Blitzstein was writing an opera about Sacco and Vanzetti. Immensely controversial, this project was cut short by tragedy. Featured guests include Fred Plotkin and Sara Fishko.

Concertzender radio broadcasts from Utrecht, the Netherlands - click here for the full Blitzstein Series (Dutch Broadcasts)


This is the story of a great musician who embraced all the colorfulness of American life. Composer Marc Blitzstein has been largely forgotten, but in the 1930s he was famous for his political musical, The Cradle Will Rock. In the 1940s he was famous again for his Airborne Symphony, written in London during the war. And in the 1950s he made headlines once more, this time for his brilliantly funny and sarcastic adaptation of Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera. And yet, he is virtually unknown today.

Jewish, gay, and a stubborn political activist, he was on the margins of the arts world in his lifetime. Although championed by Leonard Bernstein, he had trouble getting his career off the ground, and many of his musicals failed after a few performances. And his death was so tragic that it haunted his legacy for decades. This radio feature aims to celebrate his life with humor, storytelling, and vintage audio, as a new generation discovers his music. Join pianist Guy Livingston for four feature-length episodes, as he recounts the astonishing musical adventures of an American original, Marc Blitzstein.



“The Cradle That Rocked: Rediscovering Marc Blitzstein” was hosted and directed by pianist Guy Livingston. This four-part series was produced for Concertzender Radio, Utrecht, The Netherlands; and is distributed by the WFMT Radio Network, Chicago. Funding for this project provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. New York, New York. Administrative support by the Transatlantic Foundation for Music and Art. Sound design by Erik Hense. Script editing by Hugh Livingston and Julien Clancy. Interviewees included: • conductor John Mauceri • Stephen Davis, Marc’s nephew • opera expert Fred Plotkin • pianist Steven Blier • Sara Fishko, host of “The Fishko Files” on WNYC • composer William Bolcom • Jamie Bernstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein. Special thanks to: • Studs Terkel Radio Archive; • Metropolitan Opera Archives; • WOTH studios, The Netherlands; • New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Music Division; • At KWF: Elizabeth Blaufox, Dave Stein, and Brady Sansone; • At WFMT: Tony Macaluso, Heather McDougall, and Sarah Zwinklis; • Christopher Davis, Sem de Jong, Aletta Becker, New World Records, and Kelly Voigt and Naxos Recordings.
Copyright 2016 by Guy Livingston.




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Marc Blitzstein official website

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episode one of The Cradle That Rocked episode two of The Cradle That Rocked episode 3 of The Cradle That Rocked episode four of The Cradle That Rocked credits and thanks Rediscovering Marc Blitzstein:  all episodes with details and playlists