Sinclair Lewis wanted to write an anti-fascist play, but the FDR administration cancelled his production of "Ethiopia" because it might offend Italy. Lewis wrote another anti-fascist fantasy called "It Can't Happen Here" that opened Dec. 1936 in 21 locations and became one of the most popular FTP plays grossing $80,000 in 4 months from an audience of 275,000 that paid $.30 admission. The FTP paid actors and writers $22.73 per week with an additional $3 per day for expenses. Only one member of a household could be employed by the WPA.
Orson Welles was only 21 years old when he and John Houseman produced a version of "Macbeth" using black actors and set in Haiti during the era of Napoleon. Welles also adapted a version of Christopher Marlowe's "The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus" for the Living Newspaper. The "Revolt of the Beavers" was a children's fairytale about exploited beavers who rose up against a cruel chief beaver. The problems of the nation's public schools was the topic of "Chalk Dust" that became a popular play. Marc Blitzstein wrote "The Cradle Will Rock" but it's premier was cancelled in 1937 due to a steel strike and a cutback in government funding.
Conservatives in Congress opposed the liberal themes of many FTP plays and began to cut funding for the program. On June 10, 1937, the FTP was ordered to cut the New York project by 30%. This would contribute to the closing of Blitzstein's play as well as the end of the Federal Theatre Magazine and the firing of a thousand workers in 1937. Clifton A. Woodrum led the anti-theatre efforts of the house Committee on Appropriations. Martin Dies conducted hearings of the new House Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities (HUAC) created in May 1938 to investigate subversion. The Committee began hearings on the Federal Theatre Project in August 1938. Witnesses included Hazel Huffman and her husband Seymour Revzin who had been fired from the WPA for lying and soliciting money. Flanagan testified Dec. 6, 1938, with Ellen Woodward of the WPA.The Committee branded most playwrights in the history of theater as communists, including Christopher Marlowe and Euripedes. Congress voted to end funding for the FTP, effective June 30, 1939. After destroying the FTP, the next target of Martin Dies would be Hollywood.