AFTER HOURS, LAST CALL: VIP TOUR OF THE LIBRARY, TALK AND BOOK SIGNING

After the museum closed to the general public this past Thursday evening, a few VIPs were brought up to the rare books and special collections library for a private tour and presentation of materials. The guests of honor included noted international, New York Theatre, and Broadway choreographer, director, and producer Jonathan Stuart Cerullo and Joy Abbott. Mr. Cerullo has been involved in such productions as “Say Goodnight, Gracie,” “Band in Berlin,” “RSVP Broadway,” “Anna Kerenina,” “Ray Qualey,” “Sandstorm,” “Under Fire,” “Those Wonderful Babes & Bill,” and countless others. Joy was the long-time companion, wife, and widow of George Abbott (1887-1995), the producer, director, and playwright whose long and impressive career earned him the moniker “Mr. Broadway.” Other guests included Joy’s friend, Carol Towle; Ann Scully of the Mad Cat Theatre Company; Suzi Cohen; Brian Schriner, Interim Dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts at FIU; Michael Yawney, Assistant Professor in FIU’s Theatre Department; Wolfsonian Museum Director, Cathy Leff; Deputy Director for Development & Marketing, David Skipp; and Ian Rand, who before assuming the duties of Assistant Director of Marketing, Member Relations, & New Media at the Wolfsonian, served as director of publicity for Livent Inc., in Toronto and as press agent for several Broadway productions for the Fred Nathan Company in New York.

Although The Wolfsonian is probably more renowned for other collection strengths, the library does hold a substantial number of rare and important works dealing with dance, theatre, musicals and song, and the performing arts in general. Our guests were treated to a display of rare materials beginning with some nineteenth century Swedish dance cards, commonly used in the days when socially-conscious parents dictated with whom their debutant daughters might dance with at a ball.

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION

The visitors appeared to be particularly taken with an extremely rare Russian oversized portfolio of plates that provided instructions in how to build library/theatre/community centers in the early post-revolutionary period. Plate illustrated ideas for setting up stages, curtains, and chairs, patterns for paper puppets and costumes, etc. The library also holds a number of a series of reviews of the Russian Ballet in 1919 by C. W. Beaumont decorated with color pochoir (stencil work) illustrations by Ethelbert White.

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION

The library also holds a few copies of several important performing arts periodicals, such as The Dance, Theatre Magazine, and La Revue des Follies Bergère.

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION

VICKI GOLD LEVI COLLECTION

Mr. Cerullo, who apparently has a large collection of theatrical playbills and programs, appeared to be especially excited at seeing our own relatively small collection of like materials from the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. Largely through the generosity of Vicki Gold Levi, we have been able to acquire through donation a number of rare Cuban sheet music covers, Times Square memorabilia, and Broadway programs, and we hope to be able to continue to build this important area of our collection.

MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION

VICKI GOLD LEVI COLLECTION

On an different but related theme, last night The Wolfsonian held a talk by Daniel Okrent, author of the recently published book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. The library holds a sheet music cover from the prohibition era, as well as a number of Cuban tourist trade ephemera reminding Americans that things were not so dry in the nightclubs of Havana.

GIFT OF DAVID ALMEIDA & GINA WOUTERS ; VICKI GOLD LEVI COLLECTION

~ by "The Chief" on May 22, 2010.

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