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Posts from the Billy Rose Theatre Division

Hamlet Turns Left: Handwritten Shakespeare Promptbooks at LPA

The Library for the Performing Arts has several hundred of these promptbooks, and staff are working to make them more accessible to researchers.Read More ›

British Soldiers' Theatre During the Revolutionary War

When Shakespeare wrote “All the World’s a Stage,” he probably wasn’t thinking that his words would someday be performed in an occupied city by an invading army. Nevertheless, during the American Revolution theater seemed to spring up in the oddest of places, often in productions acted by soldiers. Read More ›

The Mystery Shakespeare Plot

A clue to a mysterious performance that at the time may have been "the finest spectacle that has ever been presented on the American stage."Read More ›

Falstaff On the Road: Or, Why Dickens Was Right About America

Two prime examples of actors and actor/managers who based their later careers on performing Sir John Falstaff.Read More ›

O Romeo, Romeo

Why is Margaret Mather's 1882 performance as Juliet, in William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet,' so well remembered? Perhaps this illustration of the balcony scene, apparently in her own hand, has something to do with it. Read More ›

Public Domain Theater: The Black Crook

This month, thanks to the Library’s release of all of our high resolution photographs of objects with no known U.S. copyright restrictions, the promptbook, the sheet music, and the photos may be used without restriction for any purpose, including commercially.Read More ›

Head Shots: Doubles, Triples and Quads

These double and triple exposures made more memorable headshots which showed multiple aspects of the performer. At worst, they interfered with the casting directors' ability to imagine the performer in roles.Read More ›

Head Shots: Tallulah Bankhead's Sleeve

There are at least three portraits from this studio session with the same elegant profile, hair, make-up, jewelry, and blouse. The raw silk blouse, with its uniquely draped sleeve, is an unusual choice for a head shot, since the sunburst effect of the sleeve cap commands the eye.Read More ›

Check Out These Spuds! Eight 'Potatoes' for Hanukkah

What would Hanukkah be without potato pancakes? Read More ›

Head Shots: Dulcie Cooper

If you’ve never heard of Dulcie Cooper, don’t worry, there’s still time to get familiar: two portraits of her are on display in Head Shots through December 30.Read More ›

Alice Live! on Television

In the 1954 and 1955 seasons, two lavish productions of Alice in Wonderland were premiered on television. In each case, they were developed to attract families to the presenting series and their sponsors. Read More ›

Evelyn Waugh and His "Most Offensive Work"

While in Hollywood consulting on a potential film adaptation of Brideshead that never materialized, Waugh observed American West Coast culture up close. His reaction was... not flattering.Read More ›

Musical of the Month: Golden Dawn

Considered today, Golden Dawn is obviously problematic on multiple levels, and the lack of any revivals of the show is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the study of non-canonical works like Golden Dawn remains crucial to understanding the history of musicals.Read More ›

Kate Claxton Head Shots: This Week Only

The cartes de visite, cabinet photographs and stereograms of Kate Claxton, an intensely photogenic actress.Read More ›

Contact Strips and Head Shots

The advent of contact sheets was great for photography studios and of course, actors and their agents.Read More ›

Musical of the Month: Little Nemo

Little Nemo opened on Broadway at the opulent New Amsterdam Theatre on October 20, 1908, after a three-week tryout in Philadelphia. According to the New York Times, the city had “seen nothing bigger or better in extravaganza than ‘Little Nemo.’” It had also never seen a theatrical production more expensive.Read More ›

Triptych Head Shots

Two unusual examples of triptychs, which combine headshots with character portraits.Read More ›

The Jitney Players, The Traveling Theater Troupe

During the Elizabethan era, traveling troupes of actors would perform in different towns throughout the United Kingdom. Inspired by these theatrical artists, Horace Bushnell Cheney and his wife Alice Keating Cheney established the Jitney Players in the United States in 1923.Read More ›

The Stereograph Headshot

When we started to think about an exhibition on Head Shots based on the Library for the Performing Arts’ collections, we discovered that almost every format in the history of photographic portraits was used as a headshot. Read More ›

Frank Sinatra's "The House I Live In"

The Sinatra: An American Icon exhibition has many wonderful media stations for visitors—songs, excerpts from television specials, films trailers and featurettes, and a juke box. But the one that is garnering the most attention is “The House I Live In,” the RKO short subject that won Sinatra his first Oscar. Read More ›
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