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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The Irondale Ensemble: Making Our World a Better Place

Authored by Yael Bronner

Photo of Irondale Ensemble

Members of Irondale in “Conversations in Exile.” Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

Imagine a theater company on a mission to educate as well as entertain. The Irondale Ensemble does just this, operating as a “performance think tank” and using the theater as a conduit for learning and growth.[1] Irondale delivers performances on thought-provoking topics and works tirelessly to attract the public through its community engagement programs.  The ensemble, located in Brooklyn, New York, was formed in 1983 and is composed of 12 members including actors, directors and designers.[2] It is funded by prominent cultural organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and The New York State Council on the Arts.[3]

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Marcel Marceau-William Harris Papers

Authored by Joann M White

Playbill featuring Marcel Marceau from the William Harris Papers

Playbill featuring Marcel Marceau from the William Harris Papers

The William B. Harris Papers are a collection of theater ephemera collected over a period of 30 years. After graduating from college William Harris moved to New York to become a writer. He would eventually be the theater editor for SoHo Weekly News and managing editor of Theatre Crafts Magazine. In the process of doing this work he would accumulate his theater collection. Mr. Harris would die of a massive coronary at the age of 49 on July 27, 2000. His brother John would donate the collection to Marymount Manhattan College, which has a dance and theater program.

 Mr. Harris’s papers are divided into eight separate genres; three are not in the archives at Marymount Manhattan College. The remaining five include unpublished scripts, photographs, posters, one videocassette and the largest part of the collection is in series #2. Series #2 contains 4,450 folders primarily newspaper clipping of reviews, playbills, photographs, postcards, advertisements for performances, as well as personal correspondence. This playbill from 1958 of Marcel Marceau is part of the collection. Continue reading

William B. Harris Papers – Meredith Monk

Authored by Magdaline J. Lawhorn

Photograph of the 33 ½ rpm vinyl record by Don Preston and Meredith Monk of Candy Bullets and Moon in 1967 in the original sleeve from the William Harris Papers.

Photograph of the 33 ½ rpm vinyl record by Don Preston and Meredith Monk of Candy Bullets and Moon in 1967 in the original sleeve from the William Harris Papers.

Photograph of the 33 ½ rpm vinyl record by Don Preston and Meredith Monk of Candy Bullets and Moon in 1967 out of the sleeve from the William Harris Papers.

Photograph of the 33 ½ rpm vinyl record by Don Preston and Meredith Monk of Candy Bullets and Moon in 1967 out of the sleeve from the William Harris Papers.

Marymount Manhattan College now houses the collection of the late William B. Harris, a New York theater critic (Brown, 2001, 3p.). After his death his collections were donated, including newspaper clippings, playbills, ticket stubs, photographs, personal correspondence and other assorted items he had gathered over the years. Amongst this extensive collection Harris saved a vinyl record. The record was a single press of Candy Bullets and Moon by Meredith Monk and Don Preston (Monk & Preston, 1967). As one of the earliest recordings of Monk it captures more than just her beginnings. It symbolizes her longevity as a leading woman in the entertainment industry. Continue reading

Joe Papp and His Contribution to Public Theater

Authored by Crystal Lopez

Photograph of actors Priscilla Smith and Jamil Zakkai in full costume and masks during the production of Agamemnon, from the William Harris Papers at Marymount Manhattan College

Photograph of Priscilla Smith and Jamil Zakkai during the production of Agamemnon, from the William Harris Papers at Marymount Manhattan College

William Balber (Billy) Harris was a drama and dance critic who wrote articles, criticism and reviews for many publications including Art Forum, The New York Times, and The Village Voice. Throughout the course of his career he amassed an impressive collection of papers that his brother John wanted to keep available to the public after Harris’ death. They were donated to Marymount Manhattan College, who are best known for their performing arts program (Brown, 2001). Within Marymount’s collection is this photograph from the play Agamemnon. The play originally debuted in May 1977 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and was produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival (Playbill, n.d.).

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Eun Me Ahn – William Harris Papers

Authored by Kanisha Greaves

Photograph of Eun Me Ahn from the William Harris Papers at Marymount Manhattan College

Photograph of Eun Me Ahn from the William Harris Papers at Marymount Manhattan College

The William Harris Papers at Marymount Manhattan College consist of 96 unpublished scripts and 4,450 folders of newspaper clippings, playbills, and photographs accumulated by the collection’s namesake, William B. Harris. Harris was a drama and dance critic who amassed this collection until his death of a massive coronary in 2000. After his death, the collection was given to Marymount Manhattan College, which has a performing arts program. Included in this collection is the photograph of Eun Me Ahn pictured on the left. As a dancer and choreographer in Korea and later in New York from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s, the avant-garde dance style of Eun Me Ahn was acclaimed by the press as unusual, but powerful and deeply touching. Throughout her time in New York, she was dubbed the Korean answer to the sacrosanct Art of Japanese Butoh. Continue reading

William B. Harris Papers

Authored by Bug Thomas

Playbill from The Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet at New York State Theatre between November 30-December 31, 1989.

Playbill from The Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet at New York State Theatre between November 30-December 31, 1989.

William B. Harris was a dance and drama critic who became particularly interested in New York Theater. He was an editor for newspapers and magazines where he wrote articles, criticisms and reviews of many theatre productions. After his death, his family wished for his collection be saved and used. Now, Marymount Manhattan College became the owner of his extensive collection of playbills, tickets, photographs, and personal notes and writings1. Spanning the decades between the 1960’s and 1990’s, Marymount Manhattan College hosts over 4,450 folders of clippings saved over the years, and categorized into a total of eight genre series­2.

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Karl Anderson – William Harris Collection

Authored by Elizabeth Beneke

The William Harris Collection

Karl Anderson – Weaving Through The Grid

William Harris was a theatre editor for SoHo Weekly News and magazine editor of Theatre Crafts Magazine. During his time in New York City he created a collection of clippings, photos, posters and much more, which in a way was Mr. Harris’ way to preserve history.  In a way Mr. Harris contributed to the work that we are doing today, he was practicing Archiving before it became a full-blown concept. Continue reading

William B. Harris Papers Collection

Authored by Emma Kelly

Peter Pan Playbill

Playbill for a production of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” from the William Harris Papers.

William B. Harris collected this playbill, along with many other theater-related items.  The collection is titled “The William Harris Papers,” and is located at Marymount Manhattan College in their library’s archives.  “This collection has been completely processed and consists 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, to support his work as a critic of avant-garde theater and dance in downtown Manhattan.”[1]  The collection is alphabetically organized within eight genres, (unpublished scripts, clippings, a videocassette, photographs, books, ephemera, periodicals, and recordings) three of which are not preserved in the archives, and are titled as Series 1-8.[2]

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