Scope and arrangement
The Seymour Syna papers (1948-1983) document Syna's early career as a director of summer stock, regional, and school productions; and his later career as an educator and theater critic. The papers contain correspondence, posters, programs and press releases, scripts, and writings.
Correspondence in the collection includes letters from other critics, invitations to attend productions, memoranda regarding his appointments teaching theater at various high schools and colleges, and responses to reviews, both positive and negative. Of note are letters regarding a seminar that Syna taught at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Festival in Jamaica. Posters consist of a hand-drawn poster for Detective Story, Death of Salesman at the Flagg Court Playhouse in Brooklyn, New York, and The Grouch put on by The Whitney Players at the New York Institute of Technology.
The programs and press releases are in loose chronological order. Earlier programs (1948-1966) represent summer stock, regional, and school productions that Syna directed or stage managed, including those he directed while attending the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts in the early 1950s. There are a few programs from the University of Arkansas where Syna also acted as an undergraduate theater major. Later programs and press releases (1968-1979) represent productions Syna attended as a critic. Most have annotations documenting his thoughts on the play or regarding specific performers.
The scripts primarily consist of clean copies of published and unpublished typescripts, including scripts by Joseph Caldwell, Sidney Kingsley, Easton Lee, Franklyn MacGregor, and Philip Aston Stone. The writings consist of typescript drafts. The bulk of the drafts are for reviews Syna wrote on productions as varied as Off-Broadway theater, mime, tap, and children's theater, but there are also a few interviews, most notably with Pat Carroll, Quentin Crisp, and Jose Ferrer. The drafts are undated though they were often printed on press releases that Syna repurposed as printer paper.
The collection is arranged by format.