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Posts by Doug Reside

Richard Attenborough's Shadowlands

Most of the articles memorializing director and actor Richard Attenborough cite his role as the nearly-mad scientist, Dr. John Hammond, in the film version of Jurassic Park or his directoral work on the film biography, Gandhi. Today, though, NPR's Morning Edition cited an interview in which Attenborough stated that his best work was the movie version of William Nicholson's play, Shadowlands.Read More ›

Robin Williams on Stage

While reading about riots in my hometown last night, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a headline announcing the shocking death of Robin Williams. I really can add very little to the many expressions of grief from those whose for whom his films were foundational stories of childhood. Read More ›

How Much is a TONY Worth to a Broadway Show?

In the week following the announcement of the TONY awards, the winner for best musical, Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, enjoyed its best week ever, bringing in more than $100,000 than the week before. The winner for best play, All The Way, seems to have been helped even more by the award, bringing in $200,000 more than the previous week. If it ever was in doubt, a TONY award is clearly good for business. At least if you win the big one.

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Musical of the Month: Show Boat

In the following blog post, Professor Todd Decker examines four of the early typescripts of Show Boat that can be studied at the Library for the Performing Arts. He uses the Library's call numbers to identify the four copies. There are two copies in box 5 of the Billie Burke/Florenz Ziegfeld papers, one of which was once separated from the papers under the classmark: RM7430. One is in our collection of older musical theater libretti (NCOF+) and other remains separate under classmark (RM7787). Digital images of all four copies, presented here with the kind permission of the rights Read More ›

Sampler of Songs from "Are You With It?"

Last December, Ben West, artistic director of UnsungMusicalsCo., wrote a guest Musical of the Month blog post to accompany both the first-ever publication of the libretto of Are You With It? and a remarkable reading performed in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Library for the Performing Arts. I enjoyed the reading so much that I immediately asked Ben if he would be willing to record part of the score with his incredibly talented cast. Given our almost non-existent budget, we could only record three songs (selected by Ben), but this little taste gives a tantalizing sense of this Read More ›

Code Walkthrough: Libretto

In February, I released the first prototype of the Android App, Libretto, a multimodal e-book platform designed to allow readers to compare different versions of a musical as it develops over time, and to listen to the music associated with the text. I hope to release an update soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to take a minute to walk through the code (which is available at GitHub) for those interested in working with the code.Read More ›

Musical of the Month: The Body Beautiful

Spoiler alert: The following blog reveals details about the plot of Rocky. If you’ve seen the movie, there are no surprises here, but if you haven’t seen it yet, go buy a ticket to the musical, and come back soon.Read More ›

Jerry Bock's FIORELLO! Demos

Original Cast of Fiorello! / Photo by Joseph AbelesWhen Jerry Bock died in 2010, his papers (drafts, correspondence, business records, etc.) came to the library as he had planned. A year or so later, his friend and lawyer, Richard Ticktin, compiled many of Bock's personal audio recordings onto a hard drive and passed a copy to the library. While we are still in the process of processing and preserving this material, I'm very excited today to share with you a preview of the treasures in this collection. Using the library's player below, you can listen to three tapes Bock made while 

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Musical of the Month: Fiorello!

There’s a new mayor in town—a man from a party locked out of the Gracie Mansion for over a decade who ran on a platform opposing the establishment and promising to improve the lot of the city's poor and disenfranchised. Thus ends Fiorello!, the hit 1959 musical with a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Read More ›

Announcing LIBRETTO!

I am very pleased to announce the first release of Libretto, a prototype open source, ebook reader for reading musicals on Android devices!Read More ›

Musical of the Month: Are You With It?

A guest post by Ben West of UnsungMusicalsCo.

The cast of Are You With It? (Photo by The Graphic House)November 1945. The New York Post calls it "a long-awaited musical comedy hit;" Universal purchases the film rights for more than $100,000; and The New York Times urges its readers to "hurry, hurry folks and get your tickets. On second thought, it probably isn't necessary to break a neck: this carnival should be hereabouts for a long time to come."

If you've never heard of this raucous entertainment 

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Across A Crowded Room Meetup

UPDATED: September 25, 2013

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is excited to announce the first ever meetup for participants in the musical theater writing game, Across A Crowded Room

Participants have been placed into nine groups, each with a composer, a lyricist, a book-writers, and a singer, and given 10 days to a plot a synopsis with song titles and at least one complete song (with music and lyrics) in response to the prompt:  

Write a musical set during the 2013 NYC mayoral 

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Musical of the Month: Bless You All

A guest post by Ben West of UnsungMusicalsCo.

Between March 1946 and December 1948, six highly successful musical revues opened on Broadway, playing a combined total of 2,653 performances and marking a brief resurgence of the once fashionable form. The rapturous response to these half-dozen hits was quite likely the driving force behind the pack of ten new entries that stormed the scene in the three years that followed (1949-1951).

However, with the exception of the Bert Lahr-Dolores Gray vehicle

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Three Songs From Barefoot Boy With Cheek

Photo by The Graphic House (Theater Photo Collection B)A guest post by Ben West of UnsungMusicalsCo.

When I was approached about recording Barefoot Boy With Cheek, I jumped at the opportunity. Based on the best-selling novel by Tony Award nominee Max Shulman, the zany 1947 romp has quickly become one of my favorite musicals. Sidney Lippman and Sylvia Dee's score is top-drawer Broadway brass and Mr. Shulman's book is both endlessly witty and brilliantly constructed. Yet, the original George Abbott production never received a cast album. Barefoot Boy is truly an unsung musical. As 

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Binding Your Own E-books: Part 1 (The Internet Archive BookReader)

The Wizard of Oz in the BookReaderIn 2005, the Internet Archive released the first version of their BookReader, a web widget that allows a user to flip through images of book pages with an animation that suggests the turning of physical paper. The current version also allows you to view the images as set of thumbnails or as a vertically scrolling set of page images (like a PDF). The code is open source and written in JavaScript (a computer language that runs entirely in the web browser), so it's very easy to install the widget on 

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"Across A Crowded Room": Announcing the Musical Theater Summer Songwriting Series

Musical theater is an exceptionally collaborative art form, and finding the right collaborator can be as complicated as dating. Although New York City is filled with hopeful musical theater writers and composers, it is also, as Sondheim's Marta sings in Company, "a city of strangers" where making connections of any kind can be difficult.

However, part of the mission of the New York Public Library is to "strengthen our communities," and so today I am pleased to announce Across A Crowded Room a summer project that I hope will strengthen the 

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Musical of the Month: Barefoot Boy With Cheek

Photo by The Graphic House (Theater Photo File B)A guest post by Ben West

“A young alumnus of the University of Minnesota and an old hand from Harvard and Broadway have turned out a wonderfully amusing musical comedy called Barefoot Boy With Cheek. A horde of exuberant young singers, dancers and actors, all of them bursting with vigor and brimming with talent, bounced it around the stage of the Colonial Theatre last night and rolled the customers out into the aisles. It’s the newest of the hits and one of the happiest.”

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Musical of the Month: The Fig Leaves Are Falling

A guest post by Ben West.

The Company (Photo by Dixie Sheridan)Strange as it may seem given its frank narrative and its traditional sound, The Fig Leaves Are Falling is not a conventional musical. This colorful, vivacious and disarmingly sweet 1969 confection is—at its core and in its construction—a unique and exciting entertainment that marvelously straddles the worlds of 1960s musical comedy and 1940s revue. It was, in fact, Fig Leaves' 

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Musical of the Month: Listen to Very Good Eddie

I'll be posting a April's Musical of the Month later this week, but before I do, I wanted to share the results of a little experiment.

I recently discovered a new music streaming subscription called Rdio which, for a monthly subscription fee (currently about $5), allows one unlimited access to all of the songs in their catalog. It's more or less the same idea as Spotify, but with one really cool feature for programmers: an open and easy to use API (application programming interface) for playing music within 

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Announcing the NYPL Digital Collections API

The New York Public Library is pleased to announce the release of its Digital Collections API (application programming interface). This tool allows software developers both in and outside of the library to write programs that search our digital collections, process the descriptions of each object, and find links to the relevant pages on the NYPL Digital Gallery. We are very excited to see what the brilliant developers who use our digital library will create. In the following post, Digital Curator for the Performing Arts, Doug Reside, reflects on 

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