The American Theatre As Seen by Hirschfeld, 1962-2002, a new book about theatre caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, will be released November 15 in tandem with the opening of the Museum of Broadway. The book shares its name with the museum's inaugural special exhibit about Hirschfeld, and will be available for purchase exclusively online through The Al Hirschfeld Foundation and at the museum.
The new book is inspired by Hirschfeld's plans for a sequel to the first volume of The American Theatre As Seen by Hirschfeld, which was published in 1961. Designed and curated by Hirschfeld, that work included over 250 illustrations from the first 40 years of the artist's career. The second volume covers the next 40 years, 1962-2002, showcasing titles such as Hello Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, Cabaret, Annie, Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables, Fences, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Rent, Angels in America, and Hairspray, as well as portraits of Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, Tom Stoppard, and Hal Prince. The book features a foreword by Michael Kimmelman, with chapter introductions by Brooks Atkinson, Brendan Gill, Maureen Dowd, Terrence McNally, and Jules Feiffer.
The foundation's creative director David Leopold edited the new book, having studied Hirschfeld for over 30 years with 13 of those years spent as Hirschfeld's archivist. He also authored The Hirschfeld Century: A Portrait of the Artist and His Age and recently hosted the premiere of Hirschfeld's Broadway at Bucks County Playhouse.
“No one saw more opening nights on Broadway than Hirschfeld, and both the new exhibition and book show his archive of drawings as a contemporaneous account of the productions and performers who helped shaped our popular culture over much of the 20th century, and into the 21st,” said Leopold. “Here we are, 75 years after the first book collection of Hirschfeld work was printed, and 20 years after Hirschfeld's final drawing for The New York Times, yet Hirschfeld’s work continues to be as popular as ever with theatre fans.”
The Museum of Broadway exhibit, which was also curated by Leopold, takes visitors through nine decades of Hirschfeld's landmark images capturing the American theatre from 1928-2002, including original productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Sunday in the Park With George, Funny Girl, Ragtime, Beauty and the Beast, and Hairspray. Along with productions, portraits of such figures as Meryl Streep, Stephen Sondheim, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, and John Leguizamo are also presented.
Also on display are show posters, album covers, and Playbill covers designed by Hirschfeld; a replica of the barber chair Hirschfeld worked in; and sketchbooks the artist used to plan some of his most iconic artworks.
To pre-order, visit AlHirschfeldFoundationShop.org.