Broadway blocking scripts and sheet music with handwritten notes! Original playbills and reviews for thousands of New York productions from the 1960s-1990s! Costume photos and production stills from famous downtown drag performances!
- Playbill for Guys & Dolls, Cape Cod Melody Tent, n.d., MMC Coll. #004, Box 007; Folder 56. Martin Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
This is a playbill from a production of Guys & Dolls that was choreographed by George and Ethel Martin. Unlike modern day programs, it seemed to lack advertisements as well as a list of supporters. Furthermore, one of the pages had the lyrics to some of the songs which is something I have never before seen in a playbill. Something I really appreciated was the fact that not only were the performers showcased with short biographies and headshots within the playbill, but also the creative directors which of course included a short descripton about the Martins. It got me thinking about how much less the creative minds of an operation are spotlighted for their hard work nowadays. On a very surface level and pertaining to my research of the Martins, it gave me a picture of what they looked like which also helped me understand the sort of standards that were placed on looks at the time and also knowing what they looked like gave me more of a connection to researching in general! –Myranda Lowe
- Newspaper Advertisement Clipping, Cabaret. MMC Harris Papers Coll #1, Box 43, Folder 1358. Fosse, Bob. The New Yorker. Marymount Manhattan College.Directed and choreographed by the one and only Bob Fosse, Cabaret played at The Ziegfeld: A Walter Reade Theatre, Liza Minnelli as “Sally Bowles” and Joel Grey as “Emcee.” Fosse’s movie musicals were always quite the spectacle for audiences. At the time, Liza Minnelli was a well-known singer and up and coming actress. Dating at 1972, this movie musical was all the rage. Fosse recreated the 1966 Broadway musical due to its immense popularity through a multitude of productions all over the world. He wanted to revamp the choreography and drama. His clever and precise movements were nothing short of Bob Fosse magic. Receiving a whopping four out of five stars, this movie musical was at the top of the to-see list with its ominous plot of the rise of the Nazi Party, love story, and wonderfully entertaining songs and dances.–Gabriela Niaves
- “Kismet Costume Plot,” Brooks Costume Company MMC, Coll. #4A, Box #5, Folder #68. Folder labeled Subject Kismet Miscellaneous. The Martin Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
I found an interest in costume design and costume construction for the stage. Looking through the Martin Papers, what I found was a costume plot written by Brooks Costume Company, which was a script-like file that dictated the different costumes for each individual actor for each act and scene for the musical Kismet (performed from 1956-1965). What had really caught my eye was the attention to detail for each scene. The time and setting was the first thing you read on the costume plot. This helped identify the general costume style and what kind of attire each character would be wearing at this time of day. The act number and scene number was then titled. Under the act and scene number, men and women are divided in separate groups and each separate character has specific descriptions of each character’s costume pieces from head to toe. What I love about this find in the archive was that it showed how much detail the costume designer had put in and all the factors from the script the designer had to consider. – Joshua Noriega
- William Harris, “Post-Modern Cattle Call,” Village Voice, (November 27, 1984), pg 111, MMC Coll. #1, Box 13, Folder 186.Mr. Harris’s particular view on auditioning made me smile. It was so familiar to what we are taught to expect now. Though this article reflects on a chorographer call, it could be extremely useful to theatre historians as they try to decipher the audition experience of performers throughout the twentieth century. This is also very helpful to my topic of research, the American theatrical identity of “off beat” artists in the 1980s. How the postmodern world changed theatre, how the innovations changed how we looked at theatre and the performers themselves.–Allie Willison
- Cueing Script for Follies, New York, January 2, 1971, MMC Coll#0044, Box #004, Folder: Follies Cuing Script, Undated.This source is part of the paperwork George Martin put together when he served as the Stage Manager for the 1971 production of Follies. In George Martin’s paperwork the early stages of keeping track of information such as props, blocking and scene breakdowns is evident and contact sheets are laid out. Throughout my research it has become clear just how much the invention of Microsoft has changed how stage managers format paperwork and enabled them to include more than just the bare essentials. One piece that enforced this was his cueing script and how it was formatted and laid out. He included a simple list of all the cues and the line or action that prompted each cue. Martin’s paperwork gave me not only a fresh outlook on what stage managers used to do but they also made it clear just how critical tracking paperwork is for a stage manager and how much paperwork has changed since then, which is what I wanted to focus on in my report.-Julian Olive
- Forty-Second Street, program, Pacific Overtures, musical scores, 2 books Coll. #004. Martin Papers, Series: oversize Box 1.The source that I looked at while in the archives was a huge book filled with hand-written sheet music for the show Pacific Overtures. It included multiple copies of the songs, each copy including multiple changes, additions, and cuts to the piece. The sheet music is very fragile, yet still in good condition. Some blotches of ink on a few pages, but it does not hinder the musical notation. Corrections are hard to read at first, but as the pages go on, the writer started to make them in blue/red marker instead of pencil. The date of the published music appears at the top of each page. Some pages are accordion-style, and open up along the entire table. Some corrections are made on regular paper and placed in between the appropriate sheet music of where the correction is made. Some pages are marked with a “Stephen Sondheim” stamp in red at top left of page. Some pages have pencil smears on them, making the page look dirty but still readable. This source allowed me to hold in my hands aged sheet music that was worked on throughout the years by Stephen Sondheim himself. Seeing the corrections he made by hand on each page was interesting. Nowadays, I’m sure that with all the technology we have, corrections are made on an iPad/laptop, and printed out and given to the cast members within a day. So in the future, I don’t believe there will be any sheet music with corrections (scribbles, circling, musical notations) like this on it, but instead will just be a bunch of sheet music with the corrections already printed in. –Nicholas Musumeci
- Irving Wardle, “A full-blooded American Musical,” n.p. n.d. MMC Coll#1, Box 138, folder 4000. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
In wanting to research more on Burlesque Theater, one thing that came to mind was the musical about that type of theater: Gypsy. It is a musical that shows the story of a typical “showbiz mom” and her two daughters (one of whom is Gypsy Rose Lee). Although, there were no folders specifically related to her, I found one that was a collection of clippings about the composer of Gypsy, Jule Styne. Among the clippings was this review of Gypsy when it was performed at the Piccadilly Theater, with the star Angela Lansbury as Mama Rose. What peaked my interest most about this particular review was the fact that Wardle characterized the performers of the Burlesque show as “faceless little people who long ravenously for public attention as though it were a basic food.” This particular outlook on the people who performed in these Burlesque shows humanized them in a new light for me and also made me remember that they were performing during the Great Depression. And during this time, you did what you had to do in order to survive. –Jessica Munoz
- Radic, Leonard. “Annie’s a Charmer,” unidentified, undated clipping. MMC Coll.#4A, Box 3, Folder 8. The George and Ethel Martin Papers, Marymount Manhattan Papers.This article gave a ravishing review to the new Melbourne production of Annie. The show was seen as a warm, cozy, nostalgic, and bringing the theatre back to the days of wholesomeness. Radic reported that the show had great, memorable tunes, and some of the most spectacular set changes the theatre has seen in years; and thanks to the original director/choreographer team, George and Ethel Martin, the show shined. However, the actors shone as well. Each of the actors were noted to play their character spot on and with such precision, it was a joy to watch. I found this interesting because I knew of the success the show had in America, but I had no idea its popularity spread all around the world. The fact that the show was played to cheering audiences all over the world shows how sturdy of a play Annie is, and had me interested in dissecting its construction. –Megan Hoxie
- “Dramatizing Interracial Relationships”, The Soho Weekly News (March 4th, 1976), MMC series 1, folder 30 [Fuggard, Athol; “The Blood Knot”; Manhattan Theatre Club; Franklin, Lester; “Behind the Bar/ In Front of the Mirror”; Mama Gail’s; GaboThis article focuses on the shows “The Blood Knot” and “Behind the Bar/ In front of the Mirror.” They are shows that are both dealing with interracial relationships, ranging from family to romantic relationships. William Harris reviews these two shows, looking at the play itself and the actors involved. While Harris finds both shows interesting, as they deal with breaking the shock of interracial relationships of any kind, he has his critiques as well. Harris wrote highly of “The Blood Knot,” saying that the show was very powerful and the poeticism really came through from writer Athol Fuggard. His critique was of the actor David Leary and his portrayal of his character. Now with “Behind the Bar/ In front of the Mirror” Harris had much more to critique. Saying that the play is “confusing, unfocused, and ultimately unresolved.” He goes on to talk about how Lester Franklin’s play is not a naturalistic piece, and that the director as well as the actors seem to be “intimidated by the material.” By looking at this source I was able to understand who William Harris was as a theatre critic. I learned that as a critic Harris truly tried to focus on both the positive and the negative. Going into the archives and getting to see these materials was very personal, and I enjoyed that. By getting to hold this review in my hands looking at the original, it was interesting to notice how two pieces so similar in topic William Harris looked at so differently. However, he did so in a way that if he did make a negative remark he backed it up with a positive one. –Christina Hart
- Review of Pacific Overtures, New York, January 15, 1976, MMC Coll. #1, Box 134, Folder 3899.This source was a critical review of Pacific Overtures, written by Robb Baker of the Soho Weekly News. The article was a very negative account of the 1976 Broadway Musical, calling the show “morally enraging” and offensive. The review described the show as being vacant and hollow, with an attempt at “orientalism” that somehow resorted to western theatrical traditions. The critic described the horrific rape scene coming off as insignificant, being exploited as a silly cat-mouse chase scene, and the event being “the most vulgar and reprehensible lapse of good taste in the history of American theater.” The source was incredibly insightful as to one of the unfavorable opinions on the success of the show. There was lots of dispute on whether the production was good or bad, and Robb Baker had a very distinct and brash opinion. The article definitely made me more biased. It allowed me to see that musical theatre is not always so cookie-cutter, and that the American musical can be looked down upon if not executed well. Baker’s writing was very persuasive and I agreed with many of the things he wrote about. This interested me because I wanted to know more. I was then curious to find other opinions on the production and compare other people’s thoughts with the thoughts of Baker. –Sarah Glugatch
- Feingold, Michael. “Statue Wary”. Review of Picnic, by William Inge, New York, April 21, 1953, MMC. Coll.#1, Box #18, Folder 1952. Series #2: Clippings. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.This review written by the critic Michael Feingold, discusses the paradigm for a problem Americans have with art, and how William Inge uses this paradigm in his play Picnic. Inge is centering his play on the women and their craving for penis according to Feingold, and he believes that cross-dressing is a better solution for Picnic, in order to have the maximum effect on the audience; in other words an all-male cast. Feingold also gives a good explanation on the foundational values in Inge’s play, and how his ideas reflect the time period – 1930s. The staging of the play serves the three acts tactfully, because director Scott Ellis does it without intermission, which keeps the intensity at a high level. Picnic is a play that needs raw emotion and good actors, and how the actors prepared and acted in this play is different than what we do now, according to Feingold. –Olav Drangsland
- McFerran, Ann. Unidentified clipping. MMC, Coll. #1, Box #58, Folder #1931. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.This article is one of the many praising reviews of Adrian Noble’s production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982. The author, Ann McFerran applauds the entire show as a whole by saying it was “as challenging and exciting as if it were being played by the first time.” McFerran then dedicates the majority of her piece to describing the various characteristics and quirks that Cheryl Campbell brought into her performance of the leading lady, Nora. After a long and detailed list of the actress’ strengths in the show, she sums it up by saying Campbell was “truly remarkable” and a “definitive portrayal” of the role. I found this particularly interesting since there are several similar articles reviewing the fantastic performances of actresses playing the role of Nora, such as Claire Bloom, but there are also critiques less friendly. So then while reading these reviews, it is up to the reader to decide if they are accurate perceptions, or if they are biased because of the feministic nature of the show. –Ashley Patten
- Smith, Dinita “After Playwright, An Actress Still” New York Times Clipping, July 4th, 1995, MMC, Coll. 4A, Box 3, Folder 2667. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.This review from the New York Times interviews Anne Meara, prominent 1960s actress and ½ of comedy team with husband Jerry Stiller, mother of comedians Ben and Amy Stiller. 1995 was the year Meara wrote and starred in her play “After-Play,” a non-threatening comedy full of shtick and zest, which focused on aging parents and their children all with a comic-skit feel. Critics argued Meara did not delve into politics or show business, both of which she has a breadth of knowledge. This suggests that the 1990’s saw a shift from mainly 60-70s era domestic comedy to greater interest in women in the workplace (such as Lily Tomlin or Carol Burnett) rather than at their husbands’ side. The article is particularly revealing in that Meara admits to not wanting to act at all but being forced to as one of her actors dropped out in the last minute. Regardless of their place behind the scenes or on the set, it seems the Stiller-Meara brood have a definite comic talent that sees persisting success. –Isaac Moran
- Advertisement for Not About Nightingales, New York Times, 24 January 1999, Page 9, MMC Coll. #1, Box 149, Folder 4391.This advertisement for Tennessee Williams’ Not About Nightingales drew my eye and instantly made me curious. Supposedly written between 1937 and 1939, Not About Nightingales was never performed during Williams’ life. It was an untouched script until Vanessa Redgrave uncovered it in 1998 and set out to give it life onstage. After a short but acclaimed run in London the production transferred to Broadway where it won six Tony awards. The advertisement says little about the show itself, choosing to focus instead upon the fact that this is a new Tennessee Williams play. The Time Magazine quote on the top of the advertisement coupled with the ambiguous photograph reveals much about the way advertising has changed by the end of the 20th century. The marketing team of this production obviously knew the power and lure of Tennessee Williams, and chose to advertise a new play by a famous dead playwright, rather than advertise the plot of the show itself. In this way, the audience is drawn to see what is different about this play than say Glass Menagerie, and easily lends itself to analyze the work of Tennessee Williams. –Joseph Maybloom
- Feingold Michael, “People Want Plays, but the Theater’s Going To Pieces: Missing in Action,” Village Voice, (November 9, 1999), p73, Marymount Manhattan College, Call # 0001, Box 71, Folder 2352.
This article was comparing four shows at the time they came out. The four shows were Barefoot Boy With Shoes On, Fuddy Meers, An Experiment With An Air Pump, and Ancestral Voices. I had done a scene from Good People in Acting class in the Fall semester and this semester I am directing his play Wonder of the World for Directing II. I wanted to see what his plays were really about and when I found he was in the Archive atMarymount I was thrilled! I had never hear of the play Fuddy Meers but after reading the reviews and the playbill in his file, I am excited to read it soon. I found out that the theme of“Finding humor and hope in fractured lives” was something LindsayAbaire thrived in. As I am going to use this theme as I direct this semester, I also was thrilled that theater history was not boring! No offense to the class and professor (who is amazing), but sometimes old theater history can be hard to be interested in. Now in the second semester of Theater History, I am becoming more interested in the past but the first semester was difficult to be truly fascinated in. This article is history and is recent. I connect to the playwright and really see how people perceived his play. I also realized the newspaper I am reading today is a piece of history tomorrow. This just makes me want to write for the New York Times even more just to say I wrote history.–Irene Gonzalez
- Boston, T.L. Charles Busch (left) as Irish O’Flanagan in publicity still for “Times Square Angel,” n.d. Black and White matte publicity still. MMC Coll. #006, Box 5, Folder 22. The Richard Niles/Charles Busch Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
This photo of Charles Busch and who I presume to be James Borstelman is from a publicity still to raise awareness for Busch’s play Times Square Angel. Charles Busch is more than just a pretty face; rather he is a renowned playwright, actor and ‘drag legend’ (as he calls himself). Busch brought a sense of humor to New York City that was missing, while managing to parody classic films such as “A Christmas Carol,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “The Bishop’s Wife,” all in creation of Times Square Angel. Originally I wanted to research burlesque theatre, but I morphed that topic into sexuality and drag queens which led to Charles Busch. After discovering this photo, I was then compelled to read Busch’s copy of Times Square Angel, which still showed his editing marks. The believability that Busch held while in drag, and while creating comedy yet not making himself and the play a joke, is an incredible feat. –Anna Whitty
- Clipping for a review of Julius Caesar. Robert Zarken. New York, September 11, 1979. MMC Coll. # 1, Box 126, folder 3694. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
Barry Kyle’s politically charged production of Julius Caesar with a “sparse setting” lends the “bloody” violence in the play to be less about entertainment and more of a political statement. Within the program itself, Zarken claims it was “littered with references to assassinations in our lifetime since 1948.” Kyle made another shocking political reference when he made the cover of the program the people of Iran with palms outstretched in reference to the Islamic revolution happening that same year. This is reflected in the play when the conspirators washed their hands in Caesar’s blood and exit with their palms outstretched. I found this interesting to my topic of stage combat because Kyle’s use of violence on stage was not for spectacle but to directly correlate with real life events. The audience was taken back into history but as Zarken remarks “perhaps we are looking towards it.” Kyle’s revolutionary production of Julius Caesar shows the kind of impact the world has on theatre and forces us to question how our world impacts the theatre we see today.—Sarah Spurling
- Unidentified author, “Open Meetings With Jerzy Grotowski,” Unidentified date; Unidentified author, “Jerzy Grotowski In Person,” Unidentified date. MMC, Coll. #001, Box #51, folder #164. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
I could not really decide between these two. One of the reasons it was so difficult to decide was the fact that there were two of these! Only one of them, the later, had a year indicating the date of what the clipping was sponsoring (1981). What I found so remarkable about this was the fact that these two unidentified clippings, which look as casual as New York Times or Village Voice clippings, were advertising a meet-and-greet and lecture series with Grotowski. I always understood how much of a force he was, but it was not until I stumbled upon these clippings that I truly began to understand the fundamental stronghold influence he had on the landscape of theater. He was shaping it so much that the public wanted to know what he was thinking and his opinions. It feels casual, almost like an ad for a viewing of a house or a church; such a casual clipping, for such an extraordinary man. –Justin Brown
- Newspaper Advertisement Clipping, Anna Christie. MMC Coll #1, Box 88, Folder 2993. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.David Leveaux directed Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie at the Roundabout Theatre Company, starring Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson, and Rip Torn. Leveaux had a very direct view for the production. He wanted it to be simple and without flare. He wanted to focus on the passion and emotion of the play, despite having big time celebrities starring as the lead roles. The advertisement for the show remained true to David Leveaux’s vision. The newspaper ad consisted of a simple animated drawing of the characters Anna and Matt in a small rowboat, with the title of the play displayed on the backend of the boat. –Karen Franco
- Edwardes, Jane. “A Doll’s House,” unidentified clipping. MMC, Coll. #1, Box #58, Folder #1931. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
For my research topic, I am writing about how the theater affected feminism, an idea that grew throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and continues today. As a woman in today’s theater, I find it particularly interesting to see how my art influenced my gender’s role in the world. This article looks at a production of A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 Norwegian play,through the lens of 1970’s England. In it, Edwardes questions whether wondering if Nora would return to her family is “heretical.” This is fascinating because when Ibsen wrote this piece, he deliberately left the ending open to interpretation regarding whether or not she would ever return to her family. It is interesting to note that as the ideas of feminism evolved over the centuries, so did the idea that Nora would not return to her role as a doll, until it becomes “heretical” to think otherwise. This one line reveals so much about the changing attitudes towards women in western society, and it would not be available had it not been preserved for future generations in the archive. –Kate Hopkins
- Scripts for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, New York, 1962-1965, Las Vegas (undated), MMC Coll. #4, Box #6; Programs for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, New York, 1962-1965, MMC Coll. #4A, Box #5, Folder #53. The George and
I was really interested in the Martins and their extensive involvement in the world of musical theatre all through the late twentieth century. What stuck out most to me in my research process was how many versions of scripts and playbills they had, specifically for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Upon looking through the scripts, I noticed there were countless blocking, choreography, and dialogue changes in each, and there was never what would be considered a final script. When I looked through the playbills I noticed a correlation between the changes happening in the script and who was playing the role of Pseudolus; Zero Mostel, a household name for theatre and comedy, originated the role and won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. The show’s original run was on Broadway from 1962-1964, with Mostel in the title role for almost the whole two years, and with a run that long there were bound to be changes to accommodate audiences and keep the show fresh for the actors. What I love about this find is it shows how flexible theatre can be to keep a show alive, fresh, and relevant for each new audience as well as the actors. –Brenna Hughes
- “A Hundred Thousand Women Have Done It,” Performing Arts: San Francisco’s Music & Theatre Monthly 7:1 (January 1973), p. 23, MMC, Coll. #001, Box 58, Folder 1931. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
This article reveals dramaturgy used by The American Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco’s production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Most striking is a photo of Laura Kieler, a writer and friend of Ibsen’s who became a model for his protagonist, Nora. When Kieler’s husband contracted tuberculosis, she committed forgery in order to pay for their prescribed move to a southern climate, just as Nora secretly forges her signature in A Doll’s House. The caption of the photo mentions that Ibsen even referred to Kieler as his “skylark,” Nora’s nickname in the play. This glimpse into Ibsen’s creative process showed me how contemporary and immediate the themes of A Doll’s House were to women during Ibsen’s time, despite the taboo of its performance. I wanted to research past productions of A Doll’s House because I will be seeing a current production at BAM, and thought that a comparison of past English productions would enhance my understanding of the piece. –Andrew D’Anneo
- George Martin Speech for Company concert, May 7, 1988. Marymount Manhattan College, Coll #4, Box 3. Folder labeled Company, George Martin’s notes, undated. The George and Ethel Martin Papers Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
Twenty-three years after its debut on Broadway, the original cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Company came together once again for a concert version of the show. George Martin opened the night with a speech explaining how special the musical is and how “Company has often been called a benchmark musical.” He also emphasizes the wonder of live theatre because this performance was not something that could be witnessed by television or through any technological device: it was a “one time only” performance. In his closing speech of the night, he lets the audience know that the money they spent would be donated to the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and that the performance was dedicated to three important members of theatre and, especially, of Company: Michael Bennett, Larry Kert, and Fritz Holt. He finishes by introducing George Furth, Harold Prince, and Stephen Sondheim. I’m extremely thankful to have seen this historic piece. Sondheim is one of my favorite composers and it’s remarkable to see how much influence one of his shows had on so many people. –Courtney Ross
- “Dresses for Success” Lifestyles: Gannett Westchester Newspapers, Jacques le Sourd, October 1st 1985, p. 3, MMC, Coll#001, Box 9, Folder 101. The Richard Niles/Charles Busch Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
This Lifestyles Press article entitled “Dresses for Success” is written by Jacques le Sourd, who discusses Charles Busch’s performance career in the New York “underground” theatre community. Le Sourd particularity comments on “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” which had huge Off-Broadway success in 1985 when it opened in June. The reason I found this particular coverage interesting is because it illustrates the interaction between director and the critic. Specifically, the half page image of Busch in front of the Provincetown Playhouse page reveals this relationship. Behind Busch the advertisement for his play can been seen, the words that can be read say “Puts The Rich Uptown Boys To Shame!” I found it interesting that this quote happens to be from the drama critic Jacques Le Sourd, who is also the author of this press article that was printed four months later. This interaction Le Sourd had with “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” also tells me about the amount of power the printed word has on shows and perhaps their success. –Cosmo Rapaport
- Film Review, “Don’t Cry For the New Eva, Either,” New York Times, May 5, 1996, MMC Box #145. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
This newspaper article reviews the movie version of the musical “Evita,” starring Madonna as Eva Peron. This article is a great example of how news outlets strongly influence how a movie, musical, or play is viewed by its potential audiences. I learned from looking at this how it was so important for the success of this film to have a major star playing the lead role. The article itself states: “One icon playing another.” This can often be the case with theatre, where a big star is needed to fill the seats of a Broadway house. Although, at one point, there was no such thing as a “star” in the theatrical world, that is clearly different now in 2014. This shows how marketing in theatre and film has come such a long way, from mere photographs of actors in costume to full campaigns featuring iconic stars. What I found interesting in this article is how the author mentions Madonna taking singing lessons for this particular role, and how much prep she did in advance to recording and filming. –Katherine Dunford
- Interview with playwright Martin McDonagh found in BOMB Magazine, New York, Spring 1998, MMC Coll. #001, Box 77, Folder 2622. The William B. Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
I chose to explore the William Harris Papers. I knew that I wanted to research avant-garde theatre because I love theatre that challenges the brain. I was ecstatic to discover that there was a folder on Martin McDonagh, one of my favorite playwrights. I learned that he often attempts to re-tell the fairy tales he was told as a child in a truthful manner in his plays. McDonagh discusses his personal preference for film and how that influences him when writing stage plays. He hopes to increase the number of movie buffs dabbling in the theatre. It was incredible to read this interview because I previously learned that avant-garde theatre is often about igniting change, and McDonagh’s goal is to bring moviegoers to the theatre. Without these theatre archives, I might have gathered some of this information in a book or on the internet, but the archive allowed me to immerse myself in what I was studying because what I was holding was the real magazine interview from 1998. –Brian Patterson
- Company, George Martin’s notes, undated. MMC Coll. #004, Box #003, Folder 76. The George and Ethel Martin Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
This item consists of a variety of George Martin’s notes on the Company Revival Concert on January 23rd, 1993. These papers include the speech that he gave on this night, which explains how he is the only person working on the project who was not involved with the original 1970 production. Next is a detailed production report from the first rehearsal, defining everyone involved and their responsibilities for the rehearsal and performance process. The following papers are staging notes for the cast on their blocking in the opening number titled “Company!” Martin goes into specific detail about what actor he wants where and what gesture they are to perform on each word and beat. The final papers in this pile are a detailed list of what actor and character are in each musical number, a reference for his staging notes. –Dana Searing
- David Richards, “Tennessee Williams, With Love and Pain.” New York Times. 16 November 1994. p. C17. MMC, Coll. #1, Box 149, Folder 4398. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
Stowed away in the Harris Papers is this original print of this New York Times review of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival starred the late Julie Harris and a young Calista Flockhart in the roles of Amanda and Laura, respectively. Richards comments on the potential impact of William’s language and how the actors’ performances falter when they stray from the givens of the text. He praises the scene between Flockhart and Kevin Kilner (as Jim, the gentleman caller) as a result of their honest connection to the script, thus leading to a touching and memorable moment. Yet, he jeers Zeljko Ivanek for portraying Tom as uncontrollably angry rather than the sensitive artist that Williams intended. Not only does this source remind me of the constant need to return to the script for acting inspiration but the review as a whole proves the lack of ambiguity in The Glass Menagerie as Williams’ themes and characters are cemented within the text. –Trevor Nalepka
- Hair playbill, 5:9 (September 1968), p. 8, 11, 19, 35-37. Marymount Manhattan College, Coll. #001, Box #77, Folder 2619. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
The original Broadway production of Hair opened at the Biltmore Theatre on April 29th, 1968. Now, almost forty-six years after “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” debuted, it is regarded as one of the most influential works in musical theatre history. I was elated to find a playbill from the original Broadway production among The William Harris Papers here at Marymount. This particular archival source had an incredible amount to offer from cover to cover. From the quite simplistic artwork on the front cover, to period advertisements throughout, the playbill was incredibly fun to look through. Perhaps the most valuable aspect to the playbill, however, is that it contains an immense amount of information regarding the writing, production, and concept of Hair. Personally, I think that it would be quite a task to better capture the essence of a show than this playbill does, for although we are decades past the sixties, I for sure, felt like I was there. -Kevin Brelesky
- “At Home with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; Art and Politics: Keeping It All Fresh,” by Felicia R. Lee, April 20, 1995, MMC Series 2, Box 35, Folder 1046. The William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College.
This article serves much like a lifestyle piece on both Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee at a time in their careers when both had already been well established. Although it briefly highlights Dee’s distinctly political show that she penned herself entitled “Two Hah Has and a Homeboy,” the article depicts a vivid portrait of both Dee’s and Davis’s influence on Americans’ perception of African American entertainers. Dee notes that her play uses a comedic twist to socially critique America’s lack of eagerness to accept a rather motivated and rising black middle class. She mentions her insistence on utilizing African American folklore to tell this story to embrace a quickly fading art form. This article sparked my interest because the author chose to highlight an influential African American couple in the arts in the 90s, whose fame arose much earlier in a time where African Americans were not celebrated as much in theatre and film. –Fatima Cadet-Diaby