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. The 1999 Tim Robbins film Cradle Will Rock was built around this somewhat-fictionalized historical event. Additional major compositions include the autobiographical radio song play "I've Got the Tune," The Airborne Symphony, and Reuben Reuben. At his death Blitzstein was at work on "Idiots First," a one-act opera based on the eponymous story by Bernard Malamud – to be part of a set of one-acts called Tales of Malamud – which Ned Rorem has called "his best work"; and the piece Blitzstein said would be his magnum opus, the three-act opera commissioned by the Ford Foundation and optioned by the Metropolitan Opera, Sacco and Vanzetti. Both Tales of Malamud and Sacco and Vanzetti were completed, posthumously, with the approval of Blitzstein's estate, by composer Leonard Lehrman (born 1949). 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 Blitzstein 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 robbed and beaten in Fort-de-France, Martinique by three Portuguese sailors after a sexual encounter. He identified his assailants, who were later convicted of manslaughter after he had died of his wounds in the hospital.
Leonard Bernstein and others deemed his legacy "incalculable." On September 30, 2005, Praeger published the long-awaited Marc Blitzstein: A Bio-Bibliography, by Leonard Lehrman, at 645 pages, the longest published bio-bibliography of any American composer. It is available at http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/GR0027.aspx Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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