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Famous Like Me > Composer > B > Marc Blitzstein

Profile of Marc Blitzstein on Famous Like Me

Name: Marc Blitzstein  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 2nd March 1905
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Marc Blitzstein (March 2, 1905 - January 22, 1964) was an American composer.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, among his works were The Cradle Will Rock, whose premiere was directed by Orson Welles, the opera Regina, an adaptation of Lillian Hellman The Little Foxes, the Broadway musical Juno based on Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock, No For An Answer, and his off-Broadway adaptation of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera.

The dramatic premiere of the pro-union The Cradle Will Rock was at the Venice Theater on June 16, 1937. The cast had been locked out of the WPA Theater by government troops, and so an impromptu performance without sets or costumes took place, with actors and musicians performing from the audience and Blitzstein narrating at the piano. The 1999 Tim Robbins directed movie Cradle Will Rock features this event, although somewhat fictionalized.

Additional major compositions include Airborne Symphony and Reuben Reuben.

In 1939, Blitzstein's close friend Leonard Bernstein led a revival of the play at Harvard, narrating from the piano just as Blitzstein had done.

Although Blitzstein married novelist Eva Goldbeck, he was openly gay. He cited his homosexuality as the reason for discontinuing his membership in the Communist Party (which did not consider homosexuality compatible with the party's ideals).

In 1951 he was subpoenaed to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In closed session he admitted having been a member of the Communist Party and then refused to "name names", and wound up not being called upon to testify publicly. However, he was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses.

In 1964, Blitzstein was murdered in Fort-de-France, Martinique by three Portuguese sailors who had intended to rob him. At the time of his death, he was working on an opera dealing with the Sacco and Vanzetti case.

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This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Marc Blitzstein