Scope and arrangement
The Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer papers and designs date from 1960 to 2007 (bulk dates 1967 to 1995) and contain designs by Fisher and Eisenhauer individually and in partnership for theatrical productions, dance performances, concerts, and other live events. Fisher's architectural lighting designs, theatre and auditorium electrical designs, and film option files are also included. The collection contains scripts; lighting plots, lighting sections, ground plans, and other technical drawings; design notes and memoranda; correspondence; and contracts.
The bulk of the collection consists of files for theatrical productions, dance performances, films, and concerts for which Fisher and Eisenhauer worked as lighting designers. The collection covers Fisher's earliest work on Broadway, beginning in 1963, and the majority of his solo work; Fisher and Eisenhauer's designs from 1985 to 2005; and a small number of shows for which Eisenhauer was credited individually. The files are identified by show title and may document multiple productions with different iterations of the original lighting design, including Off-Broadway previews, Broadway productions, sitting productions, Broadway national tours, bus and truck tours, international productions, and international tours. Shows files documenting multiple productions include Hair and Pippin. Files for Jesus Christ Superstar contain both Fisher's originating designs for Broadway and international productions as well as Eisenhauer's work for a New Zealand-based revival and tour in the early 1990s.
Most theatre productions are represented by a script with follow spot cues or other notations. More complete files include programs, photographs of rehearsals and equipment, reviews and clippings, tour schedules, press information, correspondence, and royalty statements. One score, for the musical Mayflower, is available. Fisher's contracts are found in both individual show files as well as a chronological general file. Designs for each show typically consist of lighting plots, focus charts, board hookup charts, and equipment lists, while larger files contain electrical hanging plans, scenic ground plans and cross sections, templates for custom fixtures and projectors, and go-between optical templates.
For some shows staged after 1998, the collection contains design files in both electronic and analog form. Most of the electronic records are duplicated on paper, including lighting plots, follow spot cues, channel hookups, focus charts, spot coordinate photographs, and go-between opticals. Computer-aided design (CAD) architectural files are not currently accessible electronically, but these drawings exist in print form within show files. Files created in lighting console software such as Obsession, Virtuoso, and Lightwright rely on obsolete software and hardware unavailable at the Library. Disk images of lighting console disks are present in the electronic records in place of the inaccessible files.
In addition to stage lighting files, design specifications for Fisher's private clients, such as homes, businesses, and theatres for which he designed single fixtures or complete lighting systems, are also found in the collection. These files contain fixture drawings, cross sections, estimates for materials, bids, and correspondence with clients.
The most robust files originate from shows produced by Fisher, namely The Rink, Dancin', Rock n Roll: The First 5000 Years, and Lenny. Fisher's production files document the development and opening of shows, from workshops and script revisions, the securing of rights and licensing agreements for musical revues, to contract negotiations with the cast and the recording of cast albums. Individual performances are represented through stage manager reports and audience surveys. While most show files contain some financial discussion regarding Fisher's royalties for his lighting designs, his producers' files consist of thorough documentation of the financial state of the show, from subscriber solicitations to weekly box office reports.
General files in the collection contain material related to Fisher's solo work prior to 1985. These files do not focus on individual shows, but discuss multiple ongoing projects and productions. Reviews and Publicity provides broad and scattered documentation of Fisher's theatrical work prior to 1985. Files for Columbia Pictures, Scripts and Properties, and Weekly Reports relate to Fisher's efforts in theatrical production and motion picture development. Correspondence is primarily professional in nature, discussing ongoing projects as well as Fisher's social relationships with prominent members of the New York performing arts scene. His royalty negotiations and work terms are detailed in files for Contracts and Peter Witt, his business manager in the early 1970s. Catalog Requests and Template files detail specific equipment sought out by Fisher and designs that he kept for general reference.
The collection contains nine audio recordings, including radio interviews with British theatre practitioner Edward Gordon Craig, and promotional recordings, audio tracks, and sound effects for Dancin', Tommy, and Omnium Gatherum. Inquiries regarding audio recordings in the collection may be directed to the Billy Rose Theatre Division (firstname.lastname@example.org). Audio recordings will be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
Selected light plots, technical drawings, cue sheets, and other materials related to Fisher's lighting design for the 1968 production of Hair are available online via the New York Public Library and The Lighting Archive's Theatrical Lighting Database at http://lightingdb.nypl.org.
The collection is arranged into general files and files by subject or show title, with each group organized alphabetically by name.