Scope and arrangement
The A.J. Antoon Papers cover the years 1961 to 1991 and contain general and personal correspondence, financial papers, calendars, writings, scripts, photographs, and clippings. The bulk of this collection lies in the Professional Productions series which includes nine boxes (7-15). Most of the items contained in this series are scripts with Antoon's notations, production notes and set design drawings, cast contact sheets, agency correspondence, and contracts and legal agreements.
Antoon was not only a gifted director but a writer as well. There are five boxes of Antoon's writings, box 17 includes writings from Shadowbrook Seminary and Boston College. Boxes 18-21 contain the screenplays of Snow White and Hotheads and the script from his musical version of Treasure Island. Box 22 contains treatments and ideas for proposed productions, most of which were Antoon's original concepts.
Although A.J. Antoon focused his talents on the theater, it must be noted that he did direct the television production of Much Ado About Nothing and a television pilot film for Norman Lear entitled Hereafter. However, this collection does not contain any items from those efforts.
The A. J. Antoon papers are arranged in ten series:
- 1961-1991Arranged by type of correspondence
The series contains correspondence written to and by Antoon. Much of it is personal correspondence from his Jesuit and Boston College friend Paul Swift(a.k.a. Porky). There are application letters to colleges from Antoon requesting admission into drama schools. Also a number of letters from Antoon's two legal representatives, Richard Rosenthal and Franklin Weissberg, concerning financial issues, agency matters, and contracts.
- 1965-19892 boxes (.6 linear feet
A bulk of the items [1965-1968] are papers written by Antoon while at Boston College. It also includes personal photographs, resumes, and a thank you note from director Mike Nichols. Box 2 contains personal calendars for years 1979 (Jan., Feb., March, April), 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, and 1986.
- 1972-19902 boxes (.8 linear feet
This series contains income tax returns and financial statements from both personal accounts and his corporate accounts under Dogberry Enterprises.
- 1961-19681 box (.2 linear feet
Included in this series are adaptations from Shakespeare and the Bible written and usually directed and performed by Antoon. High school productions were staged from 1961-1962 (includes clippings and photographs); Shadowbrook Jesuit Seminary productions from 1963-1965, and Boston College productions from 1966-1968. Boston College productions contain the script and photographs from Antoon's performance of his original work There the Antic Sits. Also included are clippings from the Tufts' production of Jean Anouilh's The Cavern. Antoon was a member of the Tufts University Summer Acting Company in 1967 and played the part of the Seminarist.
- 1971-19919 boxes (3.4 linear feet
The Art of Dining[1978-1979] Written by Tina Howe, this Joseph Papp production opened at the Public Theater, December 6, 1979, ran three days, then moved to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. for five weeks. It then returned to the Public Theater in New York. The show starred Dianne Wiest and Kathy Bates. Antoon won an Obie Award for best direction in 1980. Includes director's script, agency/legal correspondence with Antoon's contract, and program covers.
The Dance of Death  Written by August Strindberg and adapted by A.J. Antoon. This was another Joseph Papp production, running for two weeks at the Annenberg Center, University of Pennsylvania, in early March. It then moved to New York and began previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on March 21. Opening night was April 5, 1974, with the show running through May 5. Robert Shaw and Zoe Caldwell starred. Includes director's script and a Minnesota Theatre Company program from 1966 where the play was also performed.
Derelict,[1981-1982] By Robert Schenkkan, the play had its world premiere at the Studio Arena Theatre, Buffalo, NY on February 12, 1982 and ran through March 7. Director's script and cast contact sheet are included.
Double Cross,[1988-1991] By Gary Bohlke, it had its World Premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse, January 11, 1991. Included are edited scripts from 1990, scene breakdowns, sound plot, and prop list.
The Effect of Gamma Rays...,[1977-1978] Written by Paul Zindel, this production opened March 14, 1978 at the Biltmore Theatre, NY and starred Shelly Winters and Carol Kane. The two-act drama closed after sixteen performances. The file contains director's script and contact sheet plus agency/legal correspondence from 1978 regarding a royalty dispute.
Genesis, [1985-1989] This was a concept many years in the making in Antoon's mind and became a full-length production in 1988. The music is by Michael Ward with book and lyrics written by Antoon and Robert Montgomery who also wrote Subject to Fits. A NYSF production, performed at the Public Theater/LuEsther Hall, it opened November 29 and ran through January 22, 1989. It was also staged at the University of South Carolina's Longstreet Theatre, April 6, 7, 8, 1990. Collection contains two scripts, a rewrite from 1988, collaboration agreements (1988-1989), correspondence (1985, 1988-1989) which includes form pitch letters sent to producers/theaters asking for support, and photographs and slides from performances.
The Girl I Left Behind Me, Written by David Belasco in 1893, Antoon directed three performances near the end of 1981 at Middlebury College's Wright Theatre. Antoon was also visiting professor of theater at this Vermont college during winter term. Contains director's script, production notes, sound cues, a farewell card signed by cast members, and correspondence to and from Middlebury College.
The Good Doctor, [1973-1980] Written by Neil Simon, adapted from stories by Anton Chekov. First ran at the Shubert Theatre from November 1, 1973 through the 10th. It then opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre November 27, 1973, and starred Christopher Plummer, Barnard Hughes, and Marsha Mason. The show closed on May 26, 1974 after 208 regular performances. Included in the collection is Simon's first draft from 1973, Antoon's script, stage drawings, agency/legal correspondence with Antoon's contract.
A Good Life, A musical for children by Stanley Silverman (book and lyrics by Jeff Moss), adapted from a Russian folk tale, it opened April 18, 1986 and ran for one week at the Kennedy Center Theater Lab, Washington, D.C. Includes script, stage drawings, production notes, reviews, and copy of The Soldier and Death, the original story from which this musical is based.
House of Blue Leaves, This play by John Guare was performed at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and ran from July 7, to July 22, 1981. File only contains Antoon's contract.
King of Hearts,  The musical by Peter Link (lyrics by Jacob Brackman, book by Steve Tesich) was based on the screenplay by Philippe de Broca and Daniel Boulanger. The show opened at the Westport Country Playhouse, Connecticut on August 30, 1977 and ran through September 10. Young Robby Benson was the featured star. Producer Joe Kipness replaced some of the original creative staff including Antoon before moving it to Broadway. Box contains the final script, first and second drafts, annotated drafts, lyrics, production notes, cast list, and photographs of costume drawings. There is also a transcript of a discussion between Antoon, Peter Link, and choreographer Ron Field about the production. Ron Field later directed the show on Broadway.
A Life in the Theatre, The play by David Mamet starred Alec Baldwin and ran January 17 through January 30, 1987 at the Palace Theater of Arts, Stamford, Connecticut. Director's script included.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, This Shakespeare play was a NYSF production set in turn-of-the-century Brazil and starred F. Murray Abraham and Elizabeth McGovern. Performances ran from January 12 to January 24,1988 at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Anspacher Theater. File contains production notes, casting list of minor characters, and photocopies of costume drawings.
Much Ado About Nothing, [1972-1973] This was one of the first plays directed by Antoon for Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival and was one of his most successful. The two-act comedy opened August 16, 1972 in Central Park's Delacorte Theater and ran for twenty performances. The production was moved to Broadway's Winter Garden on November 11, 1972 and ran through February 11, 1973. It was then produced as a three-hour television special for CBS and aired February 2, 1973. All three productions earned praise for the 28-year-old Antoon plus a Tony nomination. Sam Waterston and Barnard Hughes starred. Contains set and prop list, a parody written by Samuel Satin sent to Joseph Papp, and color snap-shots of Sam Waterston and Kathleen Widdoes outdoors at the Delacorte Theater.
Nasty Rumors and Final Remarks,  Written by Susan Miller, this was another NYSF production that opened at the Public Theater on April 12, 1979 and ran for twelve performances. Antoon was given the Villager Award for excellence in directing. Includes director's script, contact sheet, and Villager Award.
The Palace of Amateurs, A play by John Faro PiRoman had its world premiere on August 18, 1982 at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The show ran through August 28. File includes script and screenplay, casting call list, contact sheet, photocopies of checks sent to Antoon for director's fees.
The Rink,[1982-1984] This musical written by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Terrence McNally, was a major Broadway production directed by Antoon. It opened February 9, 1984 at the Martin Beck Theater and ran for 129 performances. The show starred Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera and earned Antoon a Drama Desk Award nomination. Box 12 contains the final script and revisions. Box 13 contains cast contact and audition sheets, production and rewrite notes, agreements and contracts, photocopies of royalty checks and box office statements, a laminated flyer, and the Drama Desk Award nomination.
Sherlock's Last Case, A New York Shakespeare Festival production, written by Charles Marowitz, it starred Frank Langella as Sherlock Holmes. The show opened at the Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. and ran from July 1 to August 1, 1987. It then moved to the Nederlander Theater in New York, and opened August 20, 1987. After 124 performances, it closed December 6. Includes director's script, and correspondence concerning Antoon's royalty dispute.
Song of Singapore, A musical by Erik Frandsen, et al., and book by Allen Katz, this was the last show directed by Antoon. The show began preview performances on May 7, 1991 at the Irving Place theater, opening night was May 31. Folder contains director's script.
South Pacific,[1984-1986] This Rogers and Hammerstein revival opened in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, May 14, 1986 and featured Richard Kiley. Performances ran through July 6. Included in the collection are ten color photocopies of the set designs, thirty 4x7 photographs from the performance, scripts, audition notes and a letter from William Hammerstein providing his thoughts on the production.
Story Theater,Story Theater was the start of Antoon's professional career. These adaptations of Tolstoy and Chekov stories began at Yale with author Paul Sills. Performances where held in early 1971 at the St. Clement's Church Theatre in New York. Folder contains a notebook of telephone numbers, production notes, cast lists, and drawings.
Subject to Fits, Written by Robert Montgomery, it was the first production Antoon directed for Joseph Papp. The work was based on Dostoievsky's The Idiot and opened February 14, 1971 at the Public Theater and ran for 127 performances. It moved to London's The Palace and was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company featuring Ben Kingsley. The London performances ran from October 19 to December 11. The collection includes correspondence to and from Trevor Nunn, the artistic director for the Royal Shakespeare Company, a director's script, and a revised script.
The Tale of Cymbeline, This Shakespeare play was the first NYSF production directed by Antoon at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The play opened August 12, 1971 and ran through the 29th. One of the actors, Sam Waterston, worked with Antoon a year later in Much Ado About Nothing. Included are production notes and director's script.
Taming of the Shrew,  The last show Antoon directed for The New York Shakespeare Festival. Set in the Old West, it starred Morgan Freeman and Tracey Ullman and was the opening play for the 1990 summer season of free Shakespeare at Central Park's Delacorte Theater. It ran from July 12 to July 22. Includes final script (June 1990), version C script (May 1990), rehearsal and performance calendar, and stage drawings.
That Championship Season,  Written by Jason Miller, it became the most successful play for Antoon as a stage director. A NYSF production, first performances were held at the Public Theater from May 2 to September 3, 1972. The play moved to the Booth Theatre on Broadway and opened September 14 and ran through April 21, 1974. The show featured Charles Durning, Paul Sorvino, and Richard Dysart. It earned Jason Miller the 1973 Pulitzer Prize. Antoon was handed three major theater awards--the Tony, the Drama Desk, and Drama Critics Circle awards. The show was later re-staged in Detroit in late 1973, and London in 1974 with Broderick Crawford. Two scripts are included, with an opening night invitation, and Antoon's contract.
Trelawny of the 'Wells' , The play by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero opened October 3, 1975 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Meryl Streep and Mandy Patinkin made their Broadway debuts in the show. An opening night card from actor John Lithgow is the only item included.
Wild Oats,  Original script by John O'Keeffe, it was adapted by Antoon and performed at the Santa Fe Festival Theatre, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Wild West setting featured Kelsey Grammer in the lead and ran from June 28 to August 22, 1982. Contains an original script, annotated by Antoon, two adaptations, production notes and stage drawings.
- 1971-19901 box (.4 linear feet
This series includes press clippings and reviews from professional productions directed by Antoon.
- 1962-19855 boxes (1.6 linear feet
The series contains short stories, plays, and screenplays written by Antoon. Except for the short story A Thing Like That For, none of these works were ever published or produced.
Ain't No Mountain High Enough,  This was a treatment for a musical based on the story of a black Vietnam War veteran returning to civilian life. Folder also includes a popular song list and notes on the show.
The Dreamland Park Dance Marathon Contest, With music and lyrics by Paul Katz, this suggested musical based on dance marathon contests during the Depression would have been directed by Antoon.
Included are two copies of the proposal and a note from Antoon's mother who was excited by the concept.Lucy: The Bittersweet Life of Lucille Ball [no date] The idea by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein was to write a musical based on the making of the television comedy I Love Lucy. Included are notes and possible story line.
Miracle Plays, This concept script and materials about Old Testament Medieval Miracle Plays were sent to Joseph Papp in 1985 and later developed into the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Antoon's Genesis. Also included is the grant application Antoon filed with the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to get funding for the plays.
Theophilus North,[197?] Antoon pitched this idea of a six-part series for PBS based on the novel by Thorton Wilder.
- ca. 1972-19861 box (.4 linear feet
Hard Times: A Look at the Depression Years, [ca. 1972] Attributed to Jason Miller, the script is based on the book by Studs Turkel, Antoon was to direct. Includes three pages of photocopied notes.
Magic Barrel, [no date] No author is attributed to the script. It is based on the short story by Bernard Malamud.
McElroy, [no date] Probably Antoon's handwritten concept outline for a script.
The Oldest Profession, Included are the script, screenplay, and various re-writes by author Paula Vogel. Antoon was slated to direct the motion picture.
Stage Door,  This musical by Dan Goggin (book and lyrics by Robert Lorick) was based on the 1936 play of the same title by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. Antoon was chosen to direct the show but Goggin withdrew in July 1981 citing "artistic differences" with Antoon. Included with the completed script are notes to Antoon from producer Karen Kantor, legal agreements regarding the production, and a color photocopy of the program cover.
Two Minute Warning,[no date] Jason Miller wrote this screenplay about life in a Pennsylvania strip-mining town. Miller also wrote the play
That Championship Seasonwhich Antoon directed.
- 1972-19861 box (flat file 3 linear feet
This series contains original art work from Antoon productions:
- 1972Much Ado About Nothing--collage possibly done by Antoon, was later used as a pattern for the stage backdrop.
- 1973The Good Doctor--2 water color drawings of the father and son, done by Tony Walton, scene and costume designer.
- 1974Dance of Death--water color of the set by set designer Santo Loquasto.
- 1977King of Hearts--Two sheets of the logotype.
- 1981The Girl I Left Behind Me--5 set design drawings.
- 1982The Palace of Amateurs--3 set design drawings on one large sheet of paper.
- 1986A Good Life--water color of the program cover? by Thomas Seaman.
- 198?--Design boards for Antoon's stationary.