Thursday, September 15th, 2011...11:59 am

Theatre Buffs Take Notice!

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[This post comes from Alison Harris, Processing Assistant, Houghton Library]

Hellzapoppin’ (1940)The Fredric Woodbridge Wilson Collection of Theater, Dance and Music (Harvard Theatre Collection) has an immense amount of programs from theatrical, musical and film productions. Recently cataloged materials include 20th and 21st century souvenir programs from traditional musical fare like Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun, to more contemporary Broadway productions of Cats and Billy Elliot. One show with a particularly eye catching program cover is a slapstick comedy-musical called Hellzapoppin’ (1940), produced by Olsen and Johnson. This show included skits that were constantly changing in order to remain relevant to audiences and featured dwarfs, pigeons, clowns, fourth-wall breaking audience participation, and a lot of risqué humor. To learn more about other programs in this collection go our online finding aid of “Souvenir programs for theatrical productions, 1906-2005” or search in Hollis with the call number MS Thr 701.

Shakespeare productions also figure prominently within the programs of the Wilson Collection.
Comedy of Errors souvenir program
Of note is this old style souvenir program for a Comedy of Errors. Upon a first glance it appears to only be a printed program with a picture on the recto and information about the cast and performances on the verso. However, on closer inspection the Two Dromios are actually a fold out, revealing a number of colored lithographs of scenes from the play.
To explore more programs from Shakespeare productions visit our online finding aid “Programs for productions of Shakespeare, 1878-1981: Guide” or search the call number MS Thr 706 in Hollis.
Comedy of Errors opened souvenir program

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