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William Elliott papers, 1965-1984
Elliott, William (William F.)
- 15 linear ft. (42 boxes)
The William Elliott papers consist primarily of scores andproduction materials that document his work creating or arranging music for several Off-Broadway and Broadway productions during the 1970s and early 1980s. The bulk ofscores in the collection are from Pirates of Penzance (14 boxes). There is also a significant amount of production materials from Pirates of Penzance. The amount of materials for a specific production correlates with Elliott's involvement. In some cases, the materials (scores or production materials) do not contain evidence of Elliott's connection, which may mean that he was not credited for his work. There are no papers from his childhood or the early years of his career (i.e. the 1960s), and very little material with insight into his personal life.
Composer, arranger, and conductor, William "Bill" Elliott,was active in both the New York experimental and commerical theatre during the 1970s and early 1980s. Elliott (1944-1985) was born in Charlotte, NC, where he learned old vaudeville songs and routines from his father,an ex-vaudeville performer who died in 1962. At the age of19 Elliott moved to New York City and began writing music for Off-Off-Broadway productions. One of the first of these was a play by Tom Eyen called Little Miss Frustrata,produced by La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in 1964. Elliott later served as a musical director for La Mama from 1971-1978. This venue provided the foundation for hislater success, including an OBIE award he won for the music to C.O.R.F.A.X. (Don't Ask) in 1974. Another major project of the 1970s for Elliott was as a vocal arranger for Ain't Misbehavin', a musical based on songs by Fats Waller, originally produced Off-Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club, which later successfully transferred to Broadway for a long run.
During the 1970s, Elliott also began an association withthe New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater in 1976, when he wrote incidental music for a production of Henry V. Other work for the Public Theatre, including Othello (1979) and Mother Courage (1980), put Elliott in line for the job that would be his greatest accomplishment- adapting Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance for a new audience. Elliott conducted both the Central Park and Broadway productions, and was in charge of the music for the cast recording, the feature film version, as well as the Los Angeles and London productions. Elliott continued his involvement with Off-Broadway productions for the remainder of his life, specifically as conductor, arranger,etc. for Non Pasquale (1983; an adaptation of the opera Don Pasquale by Donizetti) and serving as musical supervisor for a version of La Boheme (1984). He died of causes related to AIDS on October 22, 1985.
Controlled Access Terms
- Elliott, William (William F.)
- Arrangers (Musicians)
- Composers -- United States -- 20th century.
- Musical theater -- United States.
- Conductors (Music)
Additional Creator Names
- Elliott, William (William F.). C.O.R.F.A.X. (Don't Ask)
- Sullivan, Arthur, 1842-1900. Pirates of Penzance.
- Waller, Fats, 1904-1943. Hot chocolates. Ain't misbehavin'
- American Music Collection.