MARC BLITZSTEIN, the musical playwright and composer, was born on this date. Combining a love of music and theater with the social principles of the American left, Blitzstein composed the definitive Depression opera in The Cradle Will Rock (1936), the closest work of art produced in America to the genius of Brecht and Weill.

It’s hardly surprising that Blitzstein’s English version of Brecht and Weill’s ThreePenny Opera ran for years on Broadway and sparked the recent Weill revival. In 1968, the composer was murdered by a hustler in Fort-de-France, Martinique, while at work on an opera about Sacco and Vanzetti.