The Library of Congress and W.W. Norton & Co. recently published, "Theaters," the third volume in the Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design and Engineering series. Compiled by architect Craig Morrison, "Theaters" joins "Barns" by George Washington University professor John Vlach and "Canals" by National Park Service architecture and engineering scholar Robert Kapsch.
"Theaters," a 352-page hardcover book with nearly 1,200 images – all on an accompanying CD-ROM – takes the reader on a visual journey from the early playhouses to modern movie houses as theaters developed in colonial America, on the Western frontier and in cities from coast to coast.
This first comprehensive study of American theaters plumbs the great holdings of the Library of Congress, highlighting a wide range of theater forms – from raucous music halls to popular vaudeville, from circus to grand opera and drama, from world's fairs to Coney Island and from nickelodeons to glorious picture palaces.
Packed with archival photographs and plans, "Theaters" includes special "interludes" of theater photography by such renowned artists as Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott and Gordon Parks. "Theaters" also includes the Library's complete collection of drawings by Anthony F. Dumas, published in its entirety for the first time.
A program was held on Dec. 6 to celebrate the book's publication. The program featured an illustrated overview of the book by the author; a performance by Ted van Griethuysen of the Shakespeare Theatre Company; a musical performance by Genevieve Williams featuring songs composed by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Howard Dietz and Irving Berlin; and a performance by the noted Russian pianist Svetlana Potanina of compositions by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Robert Schumann.
In addition to a display of original manuscripts from the Music Division, the distinguished architect Rafael Viñoly presented a gift to the Library of his original designs for America theaters and performing arts centers, including the Kennedy Center.
The program was made possible by the Art and Architecture Committee of the James Madison Council, the Center for Architecture, Design and Engineering in the Library of Congress, the Music Division, the Publishing Office, the Shakespeare Theatre Company and W. W. Norton & Co.
program is accessible online at www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/.
"Theaters," "Canals" and "Barns" are each available for $75 in bookstores nationwide and through the Library's Sales Shop, Washington, D.C. 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop/.