July 24, 2013 (REVISED August 14, 2013) Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Exhibit Travels to Los Angeles

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Daniel Walshaw (202) 707-1606

The Library of Congress exhibition “Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine: Two Kids from Brooklyn” will travel to Los Angeles, opening at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Library of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery on Saturday, August 31, 2013.

Free and open to the public, the exhibition runs through Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014.

Danny Kaye was a versatile American actor and comedian, who charmed audiences in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s with his lively singing and dancing—on stage, on television and in films such as “White Christmas” and “Hans Christian Andersen.” His wife, Sylvia Fine, played a major role in his success, writing the music and lyrics for his songs and artfully managing and producing his engagements.

Their careers are celebrated in the exhibition that has been on display at the Library of Congress in the James Madison Building’s Performing Arts Reading Room, 101 Independence Ave. S.E.., Washington, D.C., since February 14, 2013. It closes on Saturday, July 27.

The exhibition features a broad range of materials, including music holographs, typed lyric sheets, performance materials, scripts, correspondence, business papers, photographs, programs, recordings, videos and more. The items are drawn from the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection in the Music Division of the Library of Congress and the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.

The exhibition’s video stations display clips from “The Danny Kaye Show,” “An Evening with Danny Kaye and the New York Philharmonic,” the UNICEF film “Assignment Children” and a scene from Fine’s documentary “Musical Comedy Tonight II” that includes Kaye’s show-stopping number “Tchaikovsky” from “Lady in the Dark,” in which he rattles off the names of some 50 Russian composers in 39 seconds.

The exhibition can be viewed online at myloc.gov/exhibitions/danny-kaye-and-sylvia-fine/pages/default.aspx.

In addition to the exhibit, in March 2013 the Library launched a website featuring 2,000 items from the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection. Online visitors can view music and lyric manuscripts; printed sheet music; scripts from stage, radio, television and films: photographs; theater programs; correspondence—business and personal; film clips; and audio clips. For the website, visit www.loc.gov/kayefine.

Born in Brooklyn, Kaye started in show business as a teenager at the resorts in the Catskill Mountains. In 1939, he joined the cast of a short-lived revue called "Sunday Night Varieties." There, he met Sylvia Fine who was composing, writing, and playing piano for the show. They married in 1940.

In 1941 Kaye appeared in the hit Broadway musical comedy “Lady in the Dark.” His performance in the show rocked the theater world and propelled him to fame. In 1942, on Broadway, he starred in Cole Porter’s musical “Let’s Face It!” He became a standing-room-only draw at the largest and most prestigious venues, from the Roxy Theater in New York to the London Palladium. He made 17 films, including “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1947) and “The Court Jester” (1956). His gifts as an actor led him to many different projects beyond film and stage, including recordings of popular songs, hosting his own television show and conducting major symphony orchestras across the world.

Fine, also born in Brooklyn, was a graduate of Brooklyn College, where she studied music. She evolved into the consummate show-biz professional, mastering every aspect of behind-the-scenes work from writing scripts and songs to organizing and producing performances. She wrote more than 100 songs for Kaye during their 40-year collaboration. Fine also took her knowledge of theater to the academic world by teaching classes on the history of musical comedy at the University of Southern California and Yale University. Later, she created three PBS specials on the subject, “Musical Comedy Tonight.”

The Music Division, with more than 21 million items, holds the world's largest music collection. Particular areas of strength include opera (scores and librettos), stage and screen musicals, chamber music, jazz and American popular song. The Music Division is home to approximately 600 archival collections, most of them the personal papers (including music scores, correspondence, photographs, legal and financial documents, programs, clippings and other materials) documenting the lives and careers of stellar composers and performers. The division also holds a significant and growing body of materials documenting dance and theater. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/perform.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 13-135
ISSN 0731-3527