Coming events at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center will include tributes to playwrights Eugene O'Neill and Clifford Odets and collections of theatrical correspondence.
Here's the line-up:
Apr. 27: Bethel Leslie talks about working with Clifford Odets during their days together on TV's "Richard Boone Show." Leslie will read letters by Odets (from the Library's collection) and an episode of the Boone show will be screened.
May 4: Actors Barnard Hughes and Helen Stenborg will read scenes from O'Neill's A Touch of the Poet, Long Day's Journey Into Night and The Iceman Cometh, as well as love letters from O'Neill to Beatrice Ashe. The performers will also tell of their experiences playing O'Neill over the decades.
May 18: Reading of a new play, The Electra Fugues, by Ruth Margraff, directed by Liz Diamond (who staged a reading of Centaur Battle of San Jacinto at the Public Theatre last year). Margraff's other plays include The Wallpaper Psalm, The Courtesan, The Vampire Opera (with Fred Ho) and Locket Arias.
May 22: Philippine Theatre troupe, Pintig. June 1 (6:30 PM, EST): The final public program in the Bruno Walter Auditorium (before renovation) will be married couple Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson in an evening of Tennessee Williams. (Wallach starred in Rose Tattoo and Camino Real; Jackson starred regionally in Summer and Smoke fifty years ago.) Both knew Williams personally.
On exhibit, March 14-May 2 will be masks, figures and designs by Ralph Lee, founder of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. Lee himself will offer tours of the exhibition March 14, 19 and 24.
Also, now through May 22, visitors can see an exhibition (titled "With Pen In Hand") of theatrical correspondence by such theatre notables as G.B. Shaw, Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams.
For information on these free events, call (212) 870-1630. Tickets are not reservable; they're distributed at the Library's information desk two hours before events get under way.
In other NY Public Library for the Performing Arts news, plans for the Lincoln Center venue's renovation are being finalized. According to NYPL spokesperson Alex Wang, the space will likely shut down in mid-July and undergo a two-year relocation period. During that time, "in addition to reapportioning the space [at the Lincoln Center building], there'll be an infrastructure for the latest information technologies, new wiring and networking for reference databases, as well as for personal computers." The projected cost is $25 million.
Meanwhile, as reported in Backstage, the Library will split its collection, with half being housed at the building on Fifth Ave & 40th St., and half at the annex on 43rd St. & Tenth Ave.
Asked about the reason for the renovation, executive director Robert Marx told Backstage, "The library building doesn't really adequately hold us at this point. Our annual attendance is 400,000. This building wasn't designed to hold that many people. We're bursting at the seams."
-- By David Lefkowitz