Mr. Blitzstein is primarily remembered today as the author of the controversial musical, The Cradle Will Rock
. The recent film dramatized events surrounding the opening of the show. As a result of the show's "Communist
" anti-business themes, a ban was placed preventing the show from being performed on any stage in New York City
. The night that the show was supposed to open Blitzstein led the cast and audience into an empty theater and began to play the score from the stage. Actors began to stand in the aisles of the theater
singing their parts. Eventually the whole cast joined and the play was performed where they stood.
The Cradle Will Rock was not the only of Blitzstein's works to hold such ideals. Many of his pieces explore the lives of working class people in a voice of social awareness. Ever the outsider, Blitzstein was a Jewish homosexual Communist who suffered blacklisting during the McCarthy Era. Despite awareness of his sexuality, Blitzstein was married to a woman named Eva Goldbeck. Although Eva was under no illusions about her husband’s sexuality, theirs was a deep and intense relationship, and, although widely perceived by those who knew them as a 'marriage of convenience', Eva's diaries indicate that it was a marriage in the fullest sense. Suffering from breast cancer, Eva died in 1936 from anorexia nervosa. Blitzstein himself was murdered because of his sexuality on January 22, 1964 in Fort-de-France, Martinique.
- Triple-Sec (1929)
- Parabola and Circula (1929)
- The Harpies (1931)
- The Condemned (1932)
- The Cradle will Rock, play in music in ten scenes; libretto by the composer (16 June 1937, Venice Theater, NY) concert performance from the audience; also Harvard, 1939, Leonard Bernstein accompanying]
- No for an Answer (1941)
- Regina, opera in 3 acts; libretto by the composer after the play The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (31 Oct. 1949, 46th St. Theater, NY; also 2 Apr. 1953, NY City Center)
- Reuben, Reuben (1955)
- Juno (1959)