Broadway Features and Reviews
Hidden Broadway Treasures Revealed
New Exhibit Explores 70 Broadway Musical Award Winners
By Ellen Anthony, Broadway Magazine
What is it that makes a Broadway musical a Tony® award winner? A new exhibit at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts offers a unique opportunity to take a prolonged glimpse behind the curtain of 70 Tony Award-winning musicals and attempt to answer that question. The exhibit is called Writing To Character, and it features an extensive collection of Broadway riches including annotated scores and scripts, letters, costume and set designs, and much more. All evidence highlights the collaborative process involved in creating a Tony Award-winning musical. Other unique items in the exhibit include the guitar Duncan Sheik used to compose the first four songs of Spring Awakening, there is Zero Mostel’s script for Fiddler On The Roof, and even poet W. H. Auden’s unused lyrics for “Song of the Quest” for Man from La Mancha. Broadway musicals represented in the exhibit include Hairspray, Cabaret, Guys and Dolls, Company, Ragtime, Disney’s The Lion King, Parade, South Pacific and Urinetown. The exhibit is literally a direct encounter with some of the most celebrated Broadway musicals ever produced.
Moving backwards from the award ceremony, the Broadway exhibition reveals the work of putting on a show – from the opening night performance back through rehearsals, orchestrations and arrangements, demos and money raising, writing the songs, and plotting out the show, all the way to the original concept. Fittingly the exhibit celebrates Broadway not only as a collaborative art form, but also as a living art form with recorded interviews from Broadway luminaries like Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Jerry Herman, and many more. In addition, the museum will offer a series of live public programs to compliment the exhibit featuring a range of award winners both performing and discussing their work.
“Chronicling the evolution of Broadway’s celebrated musicals through the prism of the Tony Awards gives this exhibition its special niche and a rare opportunity for viewers to peek behind the curtain,” observes Jacqueline Davis, the Barbara G. and Lawrence A. Fleischman Executive Director of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. It is a glimpse well worth taking. Writing to Character runs through June 14.
Tony Award, Broadway, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Writing to Character, Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening, Zero Mostel, Fiddler On The Roof, W H Auden, Song of the Quest, Man from La Mancha, Hairspray, Cabaret, Guys and Dolls, Company, Ragtime, Disney, The Lion King, Parade, South Pacific, Urinetown, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Jerry Herman, Jacqueline Davis, Barbara G, Lawrence A Fleischman