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Al Hirschfeld exhibition extended through April 30 at The Museum of Broadway



NINA-hunters rejoice… The new Museum of Broadway in Times Square has announced that its inaugural special exhibition, The American Theatre As Seen By Hirschfeld,” has been extended, by popular demand. Visitors can now view the exhibit, featuring nine-decades of Al Hirschfeld’s iconic artwork, through April 30.

Curated by David Leopold, Creative Director of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation, “The American Theatre As Seen By Hirschfeld,” was created exclusively for the Museum of Broadway, and features twenty-five drawings and prints from 1928 to 2002. Visitors will be brought face to face with the original productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Sunday in the Park with George, Funny Girl, Ragtime, Beauty and the Beast, and Hairspray, among others. Two exhibition walls are dedicated to Hirschfeld's theatre posters, programs and album covers. Visitors will see a replica of Hirschfeld’s barber chair, where he drew all the finished drawings in his career, as well as a selection of sketchbooks that he used to record his initial impressions of shows in out-of-town tryouts and previews. Portraits of Meryl Streep, Julie Andrews, Stephen Sondheim, Liza Minnelli and John Leguizamo, many of them signed by their subjects, will also be on display, and visitors will have the chance to create a Hirschfeld portrait of themselves with a new app created exclusively for this exhibition.

“Al Hirschfeld would have been honored to see his work exhibited as an inaugural exhibition at the long-anticipated opening of The Museum of Broadway, and we could not be more thrilled that this special, inaugural exhibition has been extended to run into the spring,” says David Leopold, Creative Director of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation and curator of the exhibition. “No one saw more opening nights on Broadway than Hirschfeld, the new exhibit shows his archive of drawings as a contemporaneous account of the productions and performers who helped to shape our popular culture over much of the 20th century, and into the 21st. Whether theatre fans remember seeing the production Hirschfeld drew on stage, or see Hirschfeld’s art as their portal into theater history, Hirschfeld’s work continues to be as popular as ever.”

Released in conjunction with launch of the new exhibition, the new book The American Theatre as seen by Hirschfeld 1962-2002 showcases Hirschfeld’s greatest theater work, nearly 300 drawings from f the last sixty years, including productions such as Hello Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, Cabaret, Annie, Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables, Fences, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Rent, Angels in America, and Hairspray. and portraits including Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, Tom Stoppard, and Hal Prince. In 1961, Hirschfeld himself designed and curated a first volume of The American Theatre As Seen by Hirschfeld with 250 works from the first 40 years of his career. It was Al Hirschfeld’s favorite collection, as it was for fans, garnering rave reviews, printing several editions, and still highly prized by collectors today. Just before Hirschfeld died in 2003, he planned a sequel that would cover the other 40 years of his career, but the project was shelved with his passing …until now. Edited by David Leopold, The American Theatre as seen by Hirschfeld 1962-2002 features a foreword by Michael Kimmelman, and chapter introductions by Brooks Atkinson, Brendan Gill, Maureen Dowd, Terrence McNally and Jules Feiffer. This is the largest collection of Hirschfeld’s theatre work that has ever been published.


The American Theatre as seen by Hirschfeld 1962-2002 is now available exclusively at The Museum of Broadway and online at www.AlHirschfeldFoundationShop.org/AmericanTheatre and www.Amazon.com.

There are also Hirschfeld images on display throughout the Museum, as befitting the man who historians have called “the logo of the American Theatre.”

The Museum of Broadway is an immersive and interactive theatrical experience devoted to musicals, plays, and the people who make them. Featuring the work of dozens of designers, artists, and theatre historians, this one-of-a-kind Museum takes visitors on a journey along the timeline of Broadway, from its birth to present day, where the past, present, and future of Broadway come together like never before. For more information, visit www.TheMuseumOfBroadway.com and follow @museumofbroadway on all social channels.

Tickets for The Museum of Broadway can be purchased www.TheMuseumOfBroadway.com/Tickets. These timed tickets start at $39, and a portion of every ticket sold will be donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.



ABOUT THE ARTIST

Al Hirschfeld’s drawings stand as one of the most innovative efforts in establishing the visual language of modern art through caricature in the 20th century. A self-described “characterist,” his signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication of the last nine decades (including a 75-year relationship with The New York Times) as well as numerous book and record covers and 15 postage stamps. Hirschfeld said his contribution was to take the character, created by the playwright and portrayed by the actor, and reinvent it for the reader. Playwright Terrence McNally wrote: "No one 'writes' more accurately of the performing arts than Al Hirschfeld. He accomplishes on a blank page with his pen and ink in a few strokes what many of us need a lifetime of words to say."

In 1945, Hirschfeld celebrated the birth of his daughter Nina by placing her name in the background of a drawing. What the artist described as an innocent prank soon became a personal trademark and national obsession, as he began hiding numerous NINA’s throughout his drawings for years to come.

He is represented in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery, and Harvard’s Theater Collection. Hirschfeld authored several books including Manhattan Oases and Show Business is No Business in addition to 10 collections of his work. He was declared a Living Landmark by the New York City Landmarks Commission in 1996, and a Living Legend by The Library of Congress in 2000. Just before his death in January 2003, he learned he was to be awarded the Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts and inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters. The winner of two Tony Awards, he was given the ultimate Broadway accolade on what would have been his 100th birthday in June 2003. The Martin Beck Theater was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theater.



ABOUT THE DAVID LEOPOLD, CURATOR OF THE EXHIBITION

AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF THE AL HIRSCHFELD FOUNDATION

David Leopold, the creative force behind both the new book and exhibition, has spent more than 30 years studying Hirschfeld’s work, the first 13 as Hirschfeld’s Archivist, visiting him in his studio once or twice a week. Now the Creative Director for the nonprofit Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Leopold’s previous book, The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of the Artist and His Age (Knopf), has been called by The Washington Post, “An instant classic.” Booklist declared, “Leopold emulates the economy and fluidity of Hirschfeld’s drawings in this star-studded, anecdote-rich, critically clarifying, and thoroughly enlightening portrait of the portraits.” He has earned rave reviews from audiences around the country for his illustrated presentations on the work of Hirschfeld.


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