Research Catalog

Peter Gennaro papers

Peter Gennaro papers, 1954-1982.
Gennaro, Peter, 1919-2000.
Supplementary Content
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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
Box 1Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 1Offsite
Box 2Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 2Offsite
Box 3Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 3Offsite
Box 4Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 4Offsite
Box 5Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 5Offsite
Box 6Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 6Offsite
Box 7Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 7Offsite
Box 8Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 8Offsite
Box 9Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 9Offsite
Box 10Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 10Offsite
Box 11Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 11Offsite
Box 12Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 12Offsite
Box 13Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 13Offsite
Box 14Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 14Offsite
Box 15Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 15Offsite
Box 16Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 16Offsite
Box 17Mixed materialSupervised use (S) *MGZMD 198 Box 17Offsite


Additional Authors
12 linear feet (17 boxes)
  • Scores.
  • Scripts (documents)
Source (note)
  • Gennaro, Peter
Biography (note)
  • Choreographer, dancer, and dance teacher, Peter Gennaro (1919-2000) was acclaimed for his work on Broadway and television, as well as for his significant contributions to the development of jazz dance.
Indexes/Finding Aids (note)
  • Collection guide available in repository and on internet.
Call Number
(S) *MGZMD 198
Gennaro, Peter, 1919-2000.
Peter Gennaro papers, 1954-1982.
The Peter Gennaro papers consist mainly of production materials for shows choreographed by Gennaro, including Irene (1973 revival), Jimmy (1969), and Little Me (1982 revival). The collection includes scripts (several of which are annotated), some limited correspondence, as well as audition and production notes. Scripts include those for Jimmy (1969), with a book by Melville Shavelson, and a musical version of James Michener's Sayonara (1981; not produced on Broadway), with a book by William Luce. The bulk of the material, however, consists of musical scores for numbers choreographed by Gennaro. Many of these scores are not explicitly connected with a specific production, but appear to have been used in more than one show. Materials date from 1954 to 1982, although the majority of the musical scores are undated. The collection constitutes only a small fraction of Gennaro's professional life, with little contextual information. There are no personal materials.
Choreographer, dancer, and dance teacher, Peter Gennaro (1919-2000) was acclaimed for his work on Broadway and television, as well as for his significant contributions to the development of jazz dance. Born in Metairie, Louisiana, Gennaro showed early promise as a dancer. He studied with local teachers until his military service during World War II. After his release from the army, Gennaro moved to New York City, where he studied at the American Theater Wing and the Katherine Dunham School. In 1947, he joined the San Carlo Opera Company, and in the following year he got his first Broadway job as a member in the chorus of Make Mine Manhattan. In the following years, Gennaro earned dancing roles in Guys and Dolls (1950) and Arms and the Girl (1950). In 1954, he gained attention as one of the three dancers in Bob Fosse's "Steam Heat" number in the Broadway production of The Pajama Game. He also was featured in the "Mu Cha Cha" number with Judy Holliday in Bells Are Ringing (1956). At around the same time, he began giving dance lessons to other professional performers, introducing them to his distinctive dancing style. Gennaro's first Broadway credit as a choreographer was Seventh Heaven (1955). His next major assignment was West Side Story (1957), which he co-choreographed with Jerome Robbins. Gennaro was responsible for much of the choreography for "America" and "Dance at the Gym." Other notable Broadway productions on which Gennaro served as the choreographer include Fiorello! (1960), Bajour (1965), Irene (1973) and Little Me (1982), all of which earned him a Tony Award nomination. He won the Tony Award for Best Choreography for the original production of Annie (1977). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Gennaro also became a popular household name through numerous television appearances as a dancer and his work as a television choreographer. Among the many television series in which his Peter Gennaro Dancers appeared were The Perry Como Show, The Judy Garland Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Bing Crosby Show. Between 1974-1980, Gennaro staged the shows at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, which also involved providing choreography for the Rockettes.
Collection guide available in repository and on internet.
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Added Author
Michener, James A. (James Albert), 1907-1997. Sayonara.
Luce, William. Sayonara.
Shavelson, Melville, 1917-2007. Jimmy.
Research Call Number
(S) *MGZMD 198
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