Scope and arrangement
The Porter Van Zandt papers consist of typescripts, promptbooks, casting and production materials, set, costume and lighting design drawings and schematics, programs and touring information from Broadway, national, international and regional productions Van Zandt stage-managed and directed from 1952 through 1967. The collection includes a limited amount of production-related correspondence and ephemera, as well as several personal and production-related photographs. The papers provide an elaborately detailed backstage record of mounting, running, and touring the initial productions of such shows as The Miracle Worker, A Thousand Clowns, The Bad Seed, Dial M for Murder, and Wait until Dark, among others.The papers are arranged chronologically by production, with additional series of programs and oversize materials.
Papers from each production typically include scripts, promptbooks, and material from production books, usually consisting of cast contact lists, understudy lists, production schedules, cue lists, inventories, charts, and equipment diagrams documenting the scenery, properties, wardrobe, lighting and sound. Touring information for The Bad Seed, The Miracle Worker,A Matter of Position,and Wait Until Dark includes correspondence and forms arranging hotel and transporation, factsheets about the theatres in which the shows were performed, and instructions about the scenery, wardrobe, sound and lighting.
The level of detail to be found within the production subseries is exemplified by such items as accident reports describing injuries sustained by the cast and crew during the rehearsals and performances of The Miracle Worker on Broadway; correspondence booking separate hotels for company members of The Bad Seed who were Black; superceded pages demonstrating 17 progressive script revisions during the rehearsals of Any Wednesday;preparatory correspondence for the telecast of scenes from All the Way Home on the Ed Sullivan Show;annotated audition schedules and related material about casting the production Gideon that extends over several months; and agreements about dressing room amenities for Mike Nichols and other cast members during the Philadelphia tryout of A Matter of Position. Among the ephemera is a bumpersticker advertisement for A Thousand Clownsand three pair of spectacles worn by the character of Annie Sullivan in productions of The Miracle Worker.
Souvenir programs from the State Department-sponsored international tour of The Miracle Workerare included, as well as programs from shows represented in the production series and other shows Van Zandt was involved with from 1957-1967.
Oversized materials are comprised of complete reprographic sets of set design and lighting design drawings for productions of The Bad Seed, The Miracle Worker, All the Way Home, Gideon, Wait until Dark and Daphne in Cottage D, as well as partial design drawings for other shows represented in the production series. Additionally, there are charts analyzing the appearances of characters scene by scene. Particularly noteworthy are sketches and renderings for The Bad Seed, The Miracle Worker,Wait until Dark, and Any Wednesday; and costume design drawings of shoes used in Gideon.
Other than a few snapshots probably taken while Van Zandt was working on the Australian productions of The Miracle Worker, personal information about Van Zandt cannot be found within the collection. Documentation of productions Van Zandt worked on after 1967 is also outside the scope of the collection.
The Porter Van Zandt papers are arranged in three series:
- 1952 - 1967
This series consists of materials relating to stage productions produced, directed or stage-managed by Porter Van Zandt from 1952 through 1967, The material includes drafts and final versions of scripts, promptbooks, audition and rehearsal schedules, contact lists, casting material, scene breakdowns, and substantial documentation of the use of sets, costumes, lighting, properties and sound in each production. Also included are small amounts of production-related correspondence, research material, photographs, out-of-town reviews, and official records, such as expense reports, riders to contracts, injury reports, and legal forms permitting the employment of children. Touring material accompanies documentation of the Broadway productions of The Bad Seed, The Miracle Worker, A Thousand Clowns, and Wait Until Dark, and includes itineraries, correspondence booking hotels and transportation, factsheets about theatres and auditoriums, and set, lighting, properties, sound and wardrobe charts and diagrams.
- 1952 - 1967
Includes programs for A Hole in the Head, The Miracle Worker, Gideon, A Matter of Position, Wait Until Dark, and several miscellaneous programs crediting Porter Van Zandt.
Includes set design for The Bad Seed, The Egghead, All the Way Home, Journey to Day, A Matter of Position, Any Wednesday, Wait Until Dark, Daphne in Cottage D, floor plans for, Journey to Day, My Fair Lady, The King and I, Gideon, Any Wednesday, lighting schematics, plans or diagrams for The Miracle Worker, A Matter of Position, Any Wednesday, and Daphne in Cottage D, costume designs for Gideon, sketch and perspective rendering of basement apartment for Wait Until Dark, scene breakdown chart for My Fair Lady, and a color-coded diagram of character breakdown and rehearsal schedule chart for The King and I.