Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation
Your Library Needs You!

Posts from the Billy Rose Theatre Division

Musical of the Month: Tenderloin

The show opened at the 46th Street (now the Richard Rodgers) Theater in October 1960 to mixed reviews and closed the following spring after only 271 performances. It has received respectful attention in performances off-Broadway and in City Center’s Encores! series, but has never been revived on Broadway. What exactly went wrong?Read More ›

Happy 101st, Vivien!

Vivien Leigh, who was born November 5, 1913, may not have lived to see her 54th birthday, but she is one of the rare performers whose fame has long outlasted her death. Leigh's distinctive blend of delicacy and power as an actress, coupled with her great beauty, have helped to enshrine her.Read More ›

Happy Halloween to The Count

But the Muppet most closely associated with numbers is, of course, the Count. The Count who loves to count.Read More ›

Sesame Street at LPA: About That Tomato...

I love collaborative exhibitions because I learn so much about our partners. Working with Susie Tofte, the archivist of the Sesame Workshop and curator of the exhibition, I learned about the Workshop’s outreach programs for families dealing with the challenges of military service and incarceration. Now that the exhibition is available for viewing, I see that section’s impact on visitors who expected only fun, children’s content.Read More ›

Hirschfeld's Play of the Week

On exhibition on the 3rd floor currently are 3 of the lithographs—illustrating the Play of the Week productions of Henry IV, part 1, The Dybbuk, and Rashomon.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.

Read More ›

Big Deal: Researching Bob Fosse at the Library

The life and career of Fosse, the only director to win the triple crown of show business awards in one year (an Oscar for Cabaret, a Tony Award for Pippin, and an Emmy Award for Liza With a Z—all in 1973) is well-documented through the holdings of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) and elsewhere. Clippings, reviews, posters and lobby cards, Playbills and programs—all the standard theatrical ephemera—on Fosse's shows and films are easily available in the Billy Rose Theatre Division and Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Read More ›

Vandamm in Color and Colour

Florence Vandamm was one of the greats of black and white photography, capable of modulating infinite gradations of greys. The Vandamm Theatrical Photograph Collection, and the prints elsewhere in the research divisions, support that judgment. But that doesn't mean that she and the studio didn't shoot in color. Not so. She studied and practiced color photography.Read More ›

Turn Left at Greenland: The Beatles Meet the Press

The Beatles were not only wonderful songwriters and singers, but they were experts at peppering their press conferences with wit—and avoiding real answers to meaningful questions.Read More ›

Florence Vandamm: Dance Photographer?

The representation of the professional and artistic career of Florence Vandamm has a major gap, which we are doing our best to fill in. Her London scrapbook goes from 1908–1915. The Vandamm Theatrical Photographs collection documents her work in New York City, from 1924 on. We have filled in some of the gap with the Sybil Thorndike material (see earlier posts) and discoveries of images printed in magazines, such as British and New York Vogue, Vanity Fair and The Spur.Read More ›

I Read the Journal-American Today, Oh Dear: Beatles Files Part 1

Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles will be on view at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) from February 6 through May 10, 2014. A project of The GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE and Fab Four Exhibits, it commemorates The Beatles’ first tour of North America. The title and inspiration are taken from their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964. It covers the brief time in which the Beatles toured for live concerts.Read More ›

The Original Circle in the Square Photographers: An Interview with Justin and Barbara Kerr

Photographs from the Circle in the Square Papers provide a one-of-a-kind record of nearly all of the hundreds of productions mounted on the Circle’s round stage during its five-decade history. Founded in 1951, the Circle in the Square became one of the key theaters in the Off-Broadway movement.Read More ›

Vandamm's Pygmalion

By the time that you read this post, the exhibition Pioneering Poet of Light: Florence Vandamm & the Vandamm Studio will have been de-installed. The photograph and key sheets will be returned to the Performing Arts Library divisions. But the blogging will continue since there are thousands of photographs representing thousands of shows, dances and people.Read More ›

Power: The American Way

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, co-authors of some of Broadway’s most enduringly funny comedies, also collaborated on a topical pageant, The American Way, which opened at Broadway’s Center Theater, January 1939.Read More ›

Vandamm and Machinal

Machinal is back on Broadway. Sophie Treadwell’s best known play is enjoying a successful revival at the Roundabout Theater. Although a journalist, Treadwell used elements of experimental playwriting to show the central character stuck on the machinery that limited the lives of 1920s women. Her choices doom her. Go to see it if you can.Read More ›

The Holy Grail of the Percussion World, Part 1

William F. Ludwig himself put it best when he said, “On February 9th, 1964, a new musical event burst from the TV screens across America. The Beatles had arrived, featuring Ringo Starr and his Ludwig Black Oyster drums. Literally overnight everyone wanted a drum set like Ringo’s. The drum boom was born!”Read More ›

Focus on Stage Lighting: Faust

This week’s post serves as a caption for the alternative image that the Library’s opening web page has been using when it highlights the Vandamm exhibition, Pioneering Poet of Light. Again, the web editors selected well, since the photograph of Faust illustrates the title so well.Read More ›

Violets and Vandamm

Part of the job of performance documentation was creation of images for the promotional articles, that ran in magazines such as Theatre. The featured play article featured 6 – 8 photographs of stage action laid out like a fashion magazine images cropped into rectangles and ovals connected by 1 sentence plot summaries. The article gives you a taste of the story line while promoting performers. The Vandamm Studio was especially good at preserving moments that convey emotional impact – viewers know that something important just happened.

Read More ›

Those Mysterious Shadowy Dancers

This post answers a question about the image that the Library’s web page has been using when it highlights the Vandamm exhibition, Pioneering Poet of Light. I was thrilled when the web editors selected it, since it illustrates the title so well. So, here’s an extended caption, with musical accompaniment.

Three’s a Crowd was a revue, presented in the 1930-1931 season. Like The Band Wagon in last week's post, it was choreographed by the brilliantly innovative Albertina Rasch and paired a young Broadway/vaudeville veteran with a European ballet 

... Read More ›

"What Do You Say Up There?" Shooting the Set from Above

The most recent post looked at Vandamm photographs of dance rehearsals from footholds on the catwalks, ladders and rigging stations of Broadway theaters. This one focuses on their photographs of the stage crew setting up for those rehearsals.

Like all theater photographers, they depended on the crews to set scenes, move furniture and props, and adapt lighting. But, as you can see from the portraits and action shots, the Vandamms esteemed their IATSE colleagues and photographed them with the same respect as the performers. There are portraits of individuals or 

... Read More ›
Page 1 of 6 Next

Chat with a librarian now