Today in labor history: Workers perform “Pins and Needles” on Broadway

Today in labor history, Nov. 27, 1937, the pro-labor musical revue, “Pins & Needles,” opens on Broadway with a cast of International Ladies Garment Workers Union members.

The International Ladies Garment Workers Union used the Princess Theatre in New York City as a meeting hall. The union sponsored an inexpensive revue with ILGWU workers as the cast and two pianos. Because of their factory jobs, participants could rehearse only at night and on weekends, and initial performances were presented only on Friday and Saturday nights. The original cast was made up of cutters, basters, and sewing machine operators. 

According to theater critic John Kenrick, “Pins and Needles” is “the only hit ever produced by a labor union, and the only time when a group of unknown non-professionals brought a successful musical to Broadway.” The Cradle Will Rock composer Marc Blitzstein was among the contributors for the book, “Pins and Needles.”

Photo: Wikipedia/CC


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Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.

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