posted January 9, 2005
‘1934: The Musical’

The play, "1934: The Musical" is a two act, two hour musical production in fifteen scenes, with an ensemble cast of thirteen, on the general theme of maritime workers—longshoremen, sailors, marine engineers, and others—on the San Francisco waterfront during the Great Maritime Strike of 1934.

Derived and expanded from the play above, the full-length musical "1934" features10 original new labor songs sung in various contemporary styles (rock, jazz-fusion, hip-hop, spoken word) as well as historic-traditional (sea shanty, folk, ballad, gospel). The play includes the extensive use of a chorus of 3 singers-dancers who sing counterpoint to the cast and perform the choreography in contemporary dance styles. "1934" also employs various visual arts and multimedia integrated into the dialogue and music of the play, such as extended photo and video montage employing historic archived photos and film clips of San Francisco, its waterfront, and the strike.

“1934″ is a musical that attempts to create a new form in American theater by melding three distinct traditions: first, the rich original traditions of American musical theater; second, Epic Theater with its focus on ideas and history; and third, integrating multi-media visual arts photo and live montage.

"1934" creates an American musical theater analogue to the musical, "Les Miserables," substituting the theme of ’solidarity’ for the eighteenth century idea of ‘liberte, egalite, fraternite.’ The play is a story of the maritime workers of that city, and their struggle to survive and maintain dignity during difficult times. "1934" is about the resiliency and determination of the American spirit, about men and women who, despite great hardship and resistance to their efforts to improve their condition, were able to rise above the insurmountable forces arrayed against them in 1934. It is about the discovery of the meaning of solidarity and how that discovery enabled maritime workers and their families to survive in the great personal test of their lives that was the great San Francisco maritime strike of 1934.

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