Listen: Vanderbilt Libraries’ exhibit spotlights beloved entertainersby Ann Marie Deer Owens | Sep. 13, 2012, 4:52 PM
‘Stage & Screen’ draws from performing arts collections
“Stage & Screen: The Star Quality of Vanderbilt’s Performing Arts Collections,” now open at Vanderbilt University’s renovated Central Library and Special Collections, invites viewers to step “behind the curtain” of some of the world’s most memorable productions.
“Music City’s first-rate performing arts community inspired Vanderbilt Libraries’ exhibit, ‘Stage & Screen,’” said Connie Vinita Dowell, dean of libraries. “In galleries where opera and Opry comfortably share the stage, this exhibit reflects the city we were and the one we have become. From Fred Astaire’s top hat to Marty Robbins’ rhinestone cowboy boots and Oscar’s golden glow, these collections bring luster to ‘Stage & Screen.’”
Elegant costumes, set designs, autographed photographs and personal correspondence from legendary performers such as Enrico Caruso, Margot Fonteyn and Astaire help tell the story of modern show business. The wide variety of memorabilia includes the life mask of famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and the watch and photograph of a prominent figure in the history of tango, Carlos Gardel.
Materials from the Francis Robinson Collection of Theatre, Music and Dance – a treasure trove of the history of opera, theater and ballet – were donated by Robinson, a Vanderbilt alumnus who was assistant manager of the Metropolitan Opera Company. Among the items displayed are autographed photographs of Leonard Bernstein, Marian Anderson and Katharine Cornell and a piece of the original curtain of the old Met. There is also an illustrated movie program from the 1940 premiere of the Walt Disney film classic Fantasia.
“Stage & Screen” musical highlights include rare interviews of early Grand Ole Opry performers, courtesy of the Jack Hurst Collection, and historic items from WSM Radio.
A collection of historic music boxes, a precursor to the dulcimer, has been loaned by the Tennessee State Museum. The boxes were collected by the late David Schnaufer, who taught at Blair School of Music.
Items drawn from the collection of the late Delbert Mann, who directed scores of Hollywood films and television productions including Marty, winner of the 1955 Academy Award for best picture, will spotlight the progression of the film industry during the 1950s and ‘60s. Mann’s Oscar and Palme d’Or for directing Marty are on loan from the Mann family. The 1941 Vanderbilt graduate served on his alma mater’s Board of Trust.
In addition to the display in the Central Library, satellite library presentations include “Films from Children’s Books” at Peabody Library, “God in Music City” at the Divinity Library and “The Metropolitan Tours” and “The Life of Francis Robinson” at Ingram Hall.
“This ‘Stage & Screen’ exhibit vividly reminds us of the richness of cultural life in the mid-20th century, and particularly of Francis Robinson’s vital presence there,” said Mark Wait, dean and professor of music at Blair School of Music. “The artifacts in the exhibit bring that world to life and allow us to enjoy its color and glory anew.”
The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to run through June 28, 2013.
For more information, contact Celia Walker, director of special projects, at (615) 343-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann Marie Deer Owens, (615) 322-NEWS