Ludlam’s Feuding Families in Corn-William Harris Papers

Ludlam’s Feuding Families in Corn-William Harris Papers

Authored by Renee Pistone

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Clipping of the musical Corn that was performed in 1978 from William Harris Papers

The object here is the program for the musical Corn. The program is archived in the William Harris Papers at Marymount Manhattan College (Brown 2001, 4). This program is the image selected for my AS-L project because Corn’s theme is Vincentian compassion for all marginalized people. This AS-L project gives voice to those in theatre who are misunderstood and often not heard from. Mr. Harris’ expert critique about Corn helped fill the seats. Harris embraced difference and appreciated Ludlam’s genius and the extraordinary performances in Corn. Corn won an Obie award as a critically acclaimed play that propelled Ludlam’s career forward. The information below takes the readers on a tour of one evening with theatre off-Broadway critic William B. Harris. Marymount Manhattan College is known for its dance and theatre programs and it is the perfect location to archive the William Harris Papers.

Mr. Harris went to the theatre at One Sheridan Square Playhouse to tell the world about Corn in 1978. The Chelsea Playhouse Theatre was later named after Ludlam along with the street in front of it. Ludlam influenced people within the gay community and anyone else open to his unique artistic style.

Ludlam gives meaning to the country singer Lola’s struggles to reconnect with her troubled past. The struggles that Lola faced are found in amusing songs and dances (Harris 1978, 1). The main character Lola overcomes exploitation from a greedy Manager to showcase Corn’s social justice themes (Edgecomb 2017, 17). The play features feuding families and images of Americana. Corn’s message is to encourage universal love and peace (Kaufman 2005, 25). In many ways their lives intersect because Ludlam created plays that helped people overcome life’s obstacles. Meanwhile, Harris wrote his reviews to bring attention to Ludlam’s quest. The Vincentian philosophy involves helping others in order to deepen our faith. It is especially important to stand up for people who face persecution due to some aspect of their identities.

Playwright Charles Ludlam wrote Corn to provide the audience with a parody about social justice issues (Ludlam 1992, 3). Ludlam’s plays routinely feature themes related to sexuality and acceptance of others.

References

Brown, Mary. 2001. “William Harris Papers: Archives.” Marymount Manhattan College, http://www.mmm.edu/offices/library/archives.pdf.

Edgecomb, Sean. 2017. Charles Ludlam Lives, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

Harris, William. 1978. “As Corny as Kansas in August and Better.” The So Ho Weekly News.

Kaufman, David. 2005. Ridiculous: The Ridiculous Life of Charles Ludlam, New York: Applause Books.

Ludlam, Charles. 1992. Ridiculous Theatre: Scourge of Human Folly. New York: Theatre Communications Group.

Dr. Gurcharan Singh’s Legacy of Respect and Collaboration

Authored By Margaret Andracchi

Taken 1996, Dr. Gurcharan Singh lectures to a class of Marymount Manhattan College students interested in International Studies. His turban signifies him as a Sikh.

Joining the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College in 1980, Dr. Gurcharan Singh quickly became an integral part of community and created a legacy that still lives on today. He began teaching as an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies, backed with a MA and PhD from the City University of New York (Marymount Manhattan College 1980). Dr. Singh is credited for founding the International Studies program during his first years there, and is still honored today for this contribution with the Gurcharan Singh Memorial Fund. For 25 years Dr. Singh served the community, until his tragic death in 2007 in a motor vehicle accident.

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Queering Archives: Why it is Important to Include LGBT Items in Archives

Authored by Audrey Shults

Queering Fanfiction Event Poster from Marymount Manhattan College

This artifact is a copy of a poster advertising for an April of 2017 event discussing Queering Fanfiction, or taking media and putting an LGBT spin on it, usually so that two previously heterosexual characters enter a homosexual relationship. The event was hosted by Marymount Manhattan College’s (MMC) Gender and Sexuality Studies Club which, in addition to being a club, is a minor offered by the college. This aligns with MMC’s mission to help students “develop an awareness of social, political, cultural, and ethical issues in the belief that this awareness will lead to concern for, participation in, and improvement of society” (Marymount Manhattan College, n.d.). Because homosexuality has only recently begun to lose its stigma, there are few items from the LGBT community in MMC’s archives, save for the past decade or so. Continue reading

Charles L. Mee’s “The Trojan Women: A Love Story”

Authored by Sarah West

Newspaper clipping from The Village Voice of an advertisement for Mee’s “The Trojan Women: A Love Story.”

This advertisement ran in the Village Voice on July 9th, 1996. Charles L. Mee authored the play, and it was directed by Tina Landau. The play was a twist on Euripides’ The Trojan Women, Virgil’s Aenid, Hector Berlioz’s Les Troyens and “modern day” pop-culture (Brantley 1996).  It followed the story of  Aeneas and his men who leave Troy and sail to Italy. They are lost at sea and end up in Carthage. Here he meets and  falls in love with Dido. Where this play differs from its inspiration, Dido does not die in this play. Continue reading

Maureen Anderman Collection: “Sarah” in Edward Albee’s 1975 Production of Seascape

Authored by Florence Nicosia

Maureen Anderman as Sarah in Edward Albee’s 1975 production of Seascape.

 

Pictured is Maureen Anderman in full makeup as an anthropomorphic lizard. The picture is a cultural artifact because of the type of film used and its depiction of Albee’s conception of what an anthropomorphic lizard looked like. The camera was a Kodak Pocket Instamatic that uses 110 film to produce 3” x 5” photos. This type of camera was considered state of the art in the seventies for amateur photography. This picture of Anderman was taken to assist the makeup artist in his/her effort to recreate Anderman’s makeup for each performance. Maureen Anderman is a Tony award nominated actress best known for her appearances on stage. Edward Albee was an American playwright whose plays were often considered commentaries on human relationships. Continue reading

In The Time Of Seascape

Authored by Tori Burrell

Image of a scene from Edward Albee's Seascape

A scene from Edward Albee’s Seascape. This derives from Collection 7, The Anderman Papers, located at Marymount Manhattan College.

 

Remembering lines and breathing life into sometimes fictional characters, is what is expected of those who have embraced the theater enough to be part of it. Having a career in theater is not always easy due to the questionable consistency of work, and the many instances in which one must step outside of their comfort zone and put their best foot forward. Although neither of these instances are ideal, with Broadway audiences capping off at fourteen million people per season in the United States,[1] the show must go on. Continue reading

Maureen Anderman Papers

Authored by: Taylor Creel

Anderman Photo

Michael Weller’s Moonchildren. 1972. Maureen Anderman Collection, Marymount Manhattan College.

Actress Maureen Anderman collected newspaper articles about plays she participated in over the more than forty years of her career. In 2016, Anderman donated her professional papers to Marymount Manhattan College. Marymount Manhattan College features a strong theatre arts program and advertises thirty three percent of graduates as pursuing a career in acting making it an optimal selection for such resources.[1] In order to compensate for physical space constraints, the college would like to create a bibliography of articles from the New York Times which mention her. Continue reading

Moonchildren: A Vietnam War Story

Authored by Kate Kirwan

An image of four students (three men, one woman) sitting at a kitchen table.

A still image taken during the 1972 Broadway production of Moonchildren. Courtesy of the Archives department of Marymount Manhattan College.

Between 1961 and 1975, the United States of America found itself engulfed in the Vietnam war, which had profound effects on the United States and created much disillusionment, particularly with America’s youth.[1] Amidst the turmoil, in February 1972, Michael Weller’s play Moonchildren (formerly titled Cancer) debuted on Broadway for the first time. [2]

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William Harris Papers – Bread and Puppet Theater

Authored by Rio Aucena

Bread and Puppet Theater production

Archbishop Oscar Romero (giant puppet) from the Bread and Puppet Theater’s new production, The Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.

When historical pictures are unearthed, these items not only tell us about our past but connects us together as a community. Some of these go a step further and leave messages that inspire and instill worthwhile values such as love, respect and service.

While perusing Marymount Manhattan College’s William Harris Papers, an image of a giant puppet caught my attention. Equally attention-grabbing was the note attached behind the black and white photograph stating the snapshot was from the Bread and Puppet Theater’s new production entitled, “The Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.” With such a curious theater group name and an interesting production subject, my interest was piqued.

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William Harris Papers-Paul Zindel

Authored by Erika Wilson

Zindel watermarked image

Clipping of the play to be performed at the Biltmore Theatre

The Effect of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds was written by Paul Zindel. His novel received a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 and eventually became a popular Broadway performance. Some of the advertisements and review clippings from various Broadway performances of the play are archived in the William Harris Papers at Manhattan Marymount College. An impressive collection of 96 scripts, 4,450 folders of clippings and a collection of photographs gathered by Mr. Harris during the decades of the 1960s to the 1990s (Manhattan, 2016).

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