December 19, 2006

Stars and Treasures at the NYPL

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is celebrating 75 years of collecting theatre with a special exhibition now on view at the Lincoln Center Plaza branch. "Stars and Treasures" is a well edited selection of theatre artifacts culled from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection holdings of over 9 million pieces.

With show tunes playing in the background, the visitor explores the history and highlights of European and American theatre through vintage posters, photographs, programs, letters and other memorabilia. Beginning with Buffalo Bill and "Theatre of Spectacle" and continuing through to modern "Musical Theatre in America" this exhibition captures the magic of the footlights and its impact on our popular culture. Of particular interest is a touching letter from Tennesee Williams, 2 elegant gold cigarette cases from Cole Porter's collection, original costume designs by Joseph Urban and the trunk/stage set for Joel Grey's one-man show.

The last section of the galleries displays some personal talismans from contemporary actors. While some of these pieces were unique and charming, most seemed to me to be irrelevant. In any case, come on along and enjoy the lullaby of Broadway at this free exhibition that runs until May 5, 2007.

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