Eric A Gordon

Registered Critic

A play or musical is not likely to spark a revolution, but it can certainly heighten political awareness through militant anthems, chants, and hymns to pride of place and dignity of labor. While I found the music stirring and even universal in its reach, what I found equally impressive are the lyrics. Even outside of song, the musicated speech is frequently expressed in organized couplets. I could not help thinking I would like to read these words as literature of the unstoppable, timeless working class—clear and unpretentious, but still poetical, intimate and elevated in tone.

The song “Island of Souls,” which is recapitulated a couple of times, is about that place where these working folks’ souls will go after death. It’s a sad, but collectively comforting reminder that the work that labor achieves will long outlive any individual life. We who inhabit the celebrity culture need to reminded of that: Celebrities will come and go, rise and sink, get rich and go bankrupt, fall in and out of love. But our honest work will stand for generations, centuries, even millennia, as tribute to our common endeavor.

Eric A. Gordon, writes for People's World ( He has written for dozens of local, national, and international publications, mostly about art, music, culture, religion and politics. His undergraduate degree is from Yale and his doctorate in history is from Tulane. He was director of the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring in Southern California from 1995 to 2010. Eric is the author of "Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein," and co-author of "Ballad of an American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson." A book he translated from Portuguese ("Waving to the Train and Other Stories," by Hadasa Cytrynowicz) appeared in 2013. In 2015 he executive produced "City of the Future," a CD of Soviet Yiddish music from the 1930s. He is the former Southern California Chapter Chair of the National Writers Union (Local 1981 UAW/AFL-CIO).