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New York Public Library shares world's large archive of theatre recordings in new exhibit

Playwright David Henry Hwang with actors John Lone and Tzi Ma on the set of The Public Theater production of "The Dance and the Railroad" in 1981. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)
Playwright David Henry Hwang with actors John Lone and Tzi Ma on the set of The Public Theater production of "The Dance and the Railroad" in 1981. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)

The world’s largest collection of live theatre recordings turns 50 this year.  New York Public Library, which owns the collection, is celebrating by throwing open its doors to the public with a curated exhibition, including recorded theatre and actor and director interviews ranging from a candid interview with a 20-something Liza Minnelli to the original production of Rent.

The exhibit is called “Focus Center Stage” and runs through February at the Public Library’s Library for the Perming Arts at Lincoln Center. Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with curator Patrick Hoffman about the exhibit.

Composer Stephen Sondheim with actors Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin at rehearsal for the Broadway production of “Sunday in the Park with George” in 1984. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)

Costume designer Patricia Zipprodt with director and choreographer Bob Fosse at rehearsal discussing costume sketches for the Broadway musical “Big Deal” in 1986. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)

Baayork Lee in the original production of “A Chorus Line” in 1975. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)

Director and choreographer Michael Bennett with actors Jennifer Holliday and Sheryl Lee Ralph at rehearsal for the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” in 1981. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)

Playwright Wendy Wasserstein in 1992. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)

Director and choreographer Tommy Tune on the set of the Broadway musical “Nine” in 1982. (Martha Swope/Billy Rose Theatre Division)

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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