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Posts from New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center

Secrets Revealed: Media from the Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive

I'm Tara D. Kelley, the Audiovisual Specialist for the Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive, and I've been keeping secrets from you.

Over the past few months, I've been surreptitiously selecting media for preservation, viewing streaming video files, and producing records for the New York Public Library's catalog. In February, I began submitting these selections for review, preparing for the day when the wonders of Mr. Baryshnikov's collection would be revealed to you.

Well, the secret is finally out! You can now watch streaming files of the first sixteen Baryshnikov 

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View the Jerome Robbins Dance Division 2012 Annual Report

When people talk to me at dance events, they often ask a series of questions. How is the Dance Division doing? Does the Dance Division still accept materials? How does the Library store them? Preserve them? What about digitizing the videos? These can take a long time to answer, but there is one place I can point to with much of this information. That is the Jerome Robbins Dance Division's Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2012 (PDF), which is now 

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The Adagio Dancers, the Ballroom Dancers and Richard Stuart

Today, the word adagio is rarely used to describe ballroom dancing. If you told someone that you were going adagio dancing, most likely, this would draw a blank stare. Substitute the words adagio dancing with ballroom dancing, the recognition factor would increase tenfold.

The widely accepted definition of adagio is acrobatic balance with counterbalance. It is 

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Create Your Own Classic Film Festival

Mildred Pierce (T Photo B, Billy Rose Theatre Division)The fourth annual TCM Classic Film Festival, held April 25 to 28 in Hollywood, included screenings of roughly 80 films and featured at least as many special guests, including Jane Fonda, Eva Marie Saint, Max von Sydow, and Mel Brooks. Festivalgoers got to watch Fonda add her hand and footprints to the TCL (formerly Graumann's) Chinese Theatre forecourt, listen to Tippi Hedren discuss her experience working with Alfred Hitchcock, 

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A Family for My Art: Poets at the American Place Theatre

The Place

Anne Sexton and Marian SeldesIn 1963, a small not-for-profit theater called the American Place Theatre was founded in St. Clements Church, a Victorian Gothic church tucked away in Manhattan's Theater District. The theater was founded by the minister and actor Sidney Lanier, acting teacher Wynn Handman, and actor Michael Tolan. Their goal was to foster good writing for theater by providing a place where American writers, both emerging and established, could find support in writing new works for the stage. Their vision shines through the entirety of the

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Learning from Music Manuscripts

A class from Mannes examines music manuscriptsIt can be a special experience when students make contact with primary resources. I have written previously about a class visit to examine documents from the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. A few weeks ago I had the great opportunity to introduce students to a fundamental primary resource: music manuscripts. My colleague Fred Fehleisen (of Mannes College the New School for Music) brought his class to the

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Life is a Cabaret! A Study Guide to a Great American Musical

If you're interested in doing research on a musical, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has an embarrassment of riches. To find all the information we have, you may have to look in many different places. Of course, your first move should be to consult with the knowledgeable staff at the 2nd Floor Drama Desk, who'll be able to guide your research.

As a way of providing a guide to doing research in general, I'll take a case in point, one of the great musicals, which NYPL has covered from every angle; John Kander and Fred Ebb's 1966 masterpiece, Cabaret. 

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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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Dorothy Loudon's Luv Letters

Life on the road was a hard-knock life for Dorothy Loudon, who spent much of the sixties traveling to far flung locations all over North America to perform in her cabaret act and, later, in the touring companies of Luv and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. A guarded person whenever she wasn't "on," Loudon hated leaving her beloved Manhattan, but—in the days before Annie made her a Broadway star—it was the most lucrative way to ply her trade.

A breakdown of the Luv tour shows just how grueling those ten months of Loudon's life 

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La veuve Boivin: A Woman at the Beginning of the Music Publishing Industry

Consider this a late contribution to this year's Womens' History Month.

When most people think of the involvement of women in music they probably think of performers or composers. To be sure, women performers have been at the forefront of music for centuries, and in recent years awareness of women composers has grown enormously, particularly with those from the twentieth century. But there is at least one other music-related field in which women have made a significant mark: publishing.

Between the seventeen-century to the middle of the nineteenth-century, 

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A List of Lists: April 2013

Visit NYPL's BiblioCommons for these lists and many more. See below for some interesting staff picks from the past couple months, on topics both timely and timeless:

Love Game of Thrones? Recommended Reading from George R. R. Martin - Recommended fantasy and historical fiction reading from Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin. Martin ... Read More ›

When They Trod the Boards: Christopher Walken, Song and Dance Man

How do we love Christopher Walken? On his 70th birthday, let us count the ways. Star of film, TV, and NYPL's own iBook Point, somehow everyone has a favorite film that stars him, be it The Deer Hunter, True Romance, or Pulp Fiction. The consummate villain, he faced off

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The Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive

Mikhail Baryshnikov signing the Library's Deed of GiftFor some twenty years, the Jerome Robbins Dance Division curators have been speaking with Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the most celebrated dancers of the Twentieth Century, about the possibility of acquiring his collection.

So, we were thrilled, when on July 14, 2011, Mikhail Baryshnikov donated his archive to The New York Public 

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Musical of the Month: Very Good Eddie

The 1915 cast of Very Good Eddie (White Studio / Theater B Files)Last August, musical theater historian Laura Frankos detailed the history of the Princess Musicals in her introduction to Oh, Boy! This month's musical, Very Good Eddie, was the second of this set of smaller-and-smarter musicals produced at the Princess Theater on 39th street (following Nobody's Home and immediately preceding Oh, Boy!).

The musical is an adaptation of Over Night, a play written by co-bookwriter, Philip Bartholomae, 

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Art and Low Vision: The Sound of Monet’s Weeping Willow Series

Hear the audio version of this blog post. Narration: Kevin Gillins. Music performed by La Capella Reial de Catalunya; Le Concert des Nations; conductor: Jordi Savall.

I am looking at Monet's Weeping Willow series and want to describe these works to people who cannot see. I think music, with its sensual and dramatic language will most elegantly convey the power of these works.

In 1791, Mozart composed in Vienna parts of what is now known as the Requiem Mass in D Minor (K. 626). 

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Choral Notes: Happy 70th Anniversary to Oklahoma! (The Musical and the Song)

OOOOOOOOOO! KLAHOMA!

As a native Oklahoman and former "Sylvie" in my high school's production of Oklahoma!, there is no sweeter sound than the joyous shouts and celestial harmonies of the massive hit 8-part chorus number during the second act of Rodgers and Hammerstein's first smash musical. As a confirmed choir nerd, arranger Robert Russell Bennett is the star of my heart. Here's why...

How the number came to be

Less than three weeks before the show's Broadway debut, the musical was still called Away We Go! This was a Colonial Theatre program 

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Freedom to Dance: The Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive, Part 1

Baryshnikov showed great promise at a young age.Recently, when friends ask me what collection I am working on and I give my answer — "The Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive" — I've been receiving unexpected reactions. Everyone seems to have a Baryshnikov story. People who I know have never been to the ballet, who couldn't name another dancer if pressed, have something to say. My younger friends were not even born when he 

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Van Cliburn, 1934-2013

Piano pedagogue Rosina Lhevinne with her student, Van CliburnMany of us were saddened to hear of the passing of Van Cliburn on Wednesday, February 27. A pianist who excelled in music of the romantic repertoire, Cliburn rocketed to fame when he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, held in Moscow in 1958 at the height of the cold war. Upon his return, he was not just a 

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Musical of the Month: Make Mine Manhattan

A guest post by UnsungMusicalsCo director, Ben West

The CompanyPhotograph © Dixie Sheridan Currently in its fifth year, UnsungMusicalsCo. (UMC) is a not-for-profit production company that I founded with the aim of researching, restoring and presenting obscure but artistically sound works from the Golden Age of musical theatre. It should be noted upfront that I am perhaps more liberal than most in my definition of the Golden Age, by which I mean those 40 glorious years between the Follies: Mr. Florenz Ziegfeld's in 1931 and Mr. Stephen 

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