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The Museum of Television & Radio Announces the Establishment of The Theater Collection

Thursday, April 8, 2004

New York, NY—The Museum of Television & Radio announced today an initiative to build The Theater Collection, an effort to expand the Museum's existing theater holdings by as many as 500 hours of television and radio programming from the United States and abroad. As part of this initiative, the Museum will establish The Laura Pels Foundation Arthur Miller Collection, consisting of Miller's work in television and radio. Both Collections will be permanently available to Museum visitors at both the New York and Los Angeles locations. Initial support for the Theater Collection has been made possible by the Park Foundation, Inc. and the Verizon Foundation. Support for the Laura Pels Foundation Arthur Miller Collection was made possible by The Laura Pels Foundation.  Together these grants enable the Museum to acquire and catalog the first 100 hours of its 500-hour goal. The Museum is currently seeking additional funding for the remaining hours. 

In addition, the Museum will screen Tony Awards Highlights: The Alexander H. Cohen Years from May 14 to June 10, 2004, in New York. In 1967 producer Alexander H. Cohen took charge of the annual telecast of the Tony Awards and turned it into one of the most entertaining award shows on television. Some of the greatest moments from Broadway history were captured for posterity in highlights from countless musicals. The Museum presents two ninety-minute packages of some of these best moments, screening in New York Tuesdays to Sundays at 2:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. as follows: 

May 14 to May 27


I Do! I Do!; The Happy Time; Hello, Dolly!; How Now, Dow Jones; Promises, Promises; Purlie; Jesus Christ Superstar; Ethel Merman; Pippin; Over Here!; Chicago; A Chorus Line 

May 28 to June 10


I Love My Wife; Dancin'; On the Twentieth Century; Eubie!; Ballroom; Barnum; A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine; Sugar Babies; Annie; Ain't Misbehavin'; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Evita; Dreamgirls; Nine; My One and Only; Baby; La Cage aux Folles; Big River; The Mystery of Edwin Drood  

Theater Collection objectives include acquiring a diverse range of domestic and international theater programs; completing existing theater series in the Museum's permanent collections, including ABC Theater and Hallmark Hall of Fame series; adding episodes of Producers' Showcase, The Best of Broadway, Hollywood Television Theatre, The Play of the Week, and early series such as Broadway Television Theatre and Pulitzer Prize Playhouse; cataloging the recent acquisition of over one hundred hours of programming by the late Broadway producer Alexander Cohen (including all of the Tony Awards telecasts produced by him, and the productions At the Drop of Another Hat, Marlene Dietrich: I Wish You Love, and the milestone satirical 1960s British revue Beyond the Fringe, which launched the careers of Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett); and fully cataloging and archiving over one hundred hours of plays on radio already in the Museum's collection, representing the past seventy years of theater on radio.  

Classic radio broadcasts to be cataloged include Orson Welles's milestone Mercury Theater of the Air programs, including Macbeth and Twelfth Night; The U.S. Steel Hour programs O Mistress Mine with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, The Wisteria Trees, Call It a Day with Gertrude Lawrence, and a rehearsal of Blithe Spirit; The Theater Guild of the Air broadcasts, including What Every Woman Knows, The Show-Off, a broadcast performance and rehearsal of Strange Interlude starring Lynn Fontanne, and rehearsal performances of Ah, Wilderness! and The Importance of Being Earnest; and Lux Radio Theater programs featuring acclaimed actors such as Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Basil Rathbone, Ida Lupino, and Burgess Meredith. Contemporary radio broadcasts from the 1980s and 1990s to be included are an eight-hour presentation of The Odyssey of Homer by Hollywood Theater of the Ear; Quicksilver Radio's adaptations of A Christmas Carol and Julius Caesar; Fallen Angel and Park Your Car in Harvard Yard from LA Theater Works; and renowned Tony Award-winning writer and director Mary Zimmerman's adaptations of Candida, Pygmalion, and The Arabian Nights, from Chicago Theaters on the Air. 

The Laura Pels Foundation Arthur Miller Collection will enable the Museum to fully catalog and make accessible to the public all of Miller's work currently in the Museum's collection, including the 1973 PBS production of Incident at Vichy and Death of a Salesman, starring Brian Dennehy. Additional programs to be acquired include The American Clock (TNT, 1993); Playwrights Theatre: Clara (A&E, 1991); Theatre 625: Focus (UK, 1966); The Crucible (BBC, 1980); An Enemy of the People (WNET, 1966); as well as a sampling of the more than sixty Arthur Miller plays that have been produced for radio, including numerous productions from Columbia Workshop in the 1940s; Miller's first Broadway play, The Man Who Had All the Luck, which aired on radio in 1944; a 1947 Theatre Guild of the Air production of The Story of Gus; and a 1954 NBC Radio adaptation of Death of a Salesman

Admission to the screenings is included with the Museum's suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. 

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public. Since opening in 1976, the Museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. Programs in the Museum's permanent collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at (212) 621-6800, or in Los Angeles at (310) 786-1000. Visit the Museum's website at