Scope and arrangement
The Wolfgang Roth designs and papers hold Roth's set and costume designs (consisting of drawings, paintings, and collages); technical drawings; production papers (consisting mostly of scripts); photographs of Roth, his productions, and his colleagues; programs; clippings; scores; lyrics; and career information. Materials date from 1928 to 1987 and deal with Roth's theatrical work, and, to a lesser extent, his artwork and musical projects. Materials are chiefly in English but also in German.
Overviews of Roth's career as a theatrical designer and an artist, as well as a small amount of correspondence from his professional colleagues, can be found in the career information files. Roth's career is also documented in clippings, articles, and other memorabilia mounted on cardboard, resembling scrapbooks. The collection holds programs for productions that Roth worked on from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Present with Roth's clippings, programs, and memorabilia is a small amount of materials related to Bertolt Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble, which Brecht founded. These materials consist of photographs released in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Berliner Ensemble, programs, and articles about Brecht. Designs and technical drawings date from 1939 to 1984. Productions from the 1940s are the best represented. Roth created his designs in gouache, pastel, pencil, ink, and collage. Original designs include costumes for Androcles and the Lion and The Secret Concubine; all other designs and technical drawings are for sets. In some instances, photographs and copies of the designs are present, as well as clippings.
The collection holds a large amount of photographs and prints mounted on cardboard, documenting Roth's theatrical work and, to a lesser extent, his art, from 1928 to 1979. The images include copies of Roth's initial designs as well as photographs of shows. A small number of the images are annotated or matted with clippings. Productions of the Cincinnati Opera are particularly well-represented. Present are images of designs and sets for political cabarets (Kabaretts) from 1928 to 1930.
Loose photographs and prints consist of photographic prints, negatives, slides, and a small number of postcards. Photographs depict Roth, his friends and colleagues, his theatrical work, and his art. Photographs of people include informal and candid shots as well as headshots and publicity photographs, some signed. Present is a folder of photographs of Vaudeville stars and musicians who Roth knew, or knew of, in Zurich. Negative images of sets Roth created from the 1930s to the 1960s are here. Slides depict the sets of Doña Rosita (1980), Amadeus, and Have (both in 1985). Also present are slides that were projected as part of the scenery for Hanna Senesh (1983).
Roth created a series of collages incorporating poems by Brecht (Collagen zu Gedichten von Bertolt Brecht), which were exhibited in Germany in 1983. This collection holds photographs from the exhibit and postcards of the artwork, as well as a few clippings.
The collection holds a small album and loose photographs of actor Erwin Kalser in various theatrical productions from the 1930s to 1950s. The album and many of the photographs have been inscribed to Roth by Kalser. There is a small amount of print material with the photographs.
The Littlest Circus materials consist mostly of large photographic prints, proof sheets, and negatives. Also present are a show prospectus and programs.
Production files chiefly consist of scripts, a small number of which contain notes and initial rough sketches by Roth. Some of the scripts have handwritten changes. There is also a small amount of related material such as production schedules and correspondence. Present are production files for David and Paula by Howard Fast, Brecht's Galileo, Amadeus, Bernardine, The Cannibals, Der Hauptmann von Köpenick, Kaspar, Leda Had a Little Swan, Lolita, Pinkville, and Schweyk in the Second World War, among others.
Materials related to Roth's musical projects consist mostly of scores and lyrics from both traditional and contemporary German and American songs. These include songs by Hanns Eisler and Bertolt Brecht, as well as German folk songs that were eventually used in Roth's two albums, Early German Ballads volumes 1 and 2. Some lyrics have translations by Roth. Materials related to Roth's 1970s Kabarett show consist of programs, clippings, photographs of the show, slides used during the show, and scores and lyrics for songs which Roth prepared and performed for the show. Also present is an open reel audio tape used during the performance.
Inquiries regarding audio materials in the collection may be directed to the Billy Rose Theatre Collection (firstname.lastname@example.org). Audio materials will be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by material type and subject. Designs and technical drawings are arranged alphabetically by production.