Willkommen! "Joel Grey/A New York Life" Opens at Museum of the City of New York April 12

By Kenneth Jones
12 Apr 2011

"Joel Grey/A New York Life," a new exhibit that examines the relationship between Broadway actor Joel Grey and New York City, opens April 12 at Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). The opening comes one day after the Tony Award winner's 79th birthday.



Grey, of Broadway's original Cabaret (and the film version), plus George M!, The Grand Tour, Wicked, the revival of Chicago and more, is currently starring as Moonface Martin in Broadway's Anything Goes. Also on Grey's plate this spring: He's directing the Broadway premiere of The Normal Heart.

According to MCNY, "Through rare artifacts from his stage and screen career, objects from his personal collection, and his own photography, MCNY offers a unique look at New York through Grey's eyes as well as a visual retrospective of his career."

"Joel Grey/A New York Life" will remain on display through Aug. 14.

Susan Henshaw Jones, the Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum, said in a previous statement, "Joel Grey has transformed himself, through his extraordinary talent, into characters that seduce, surprise, and amaze us. This exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the performer's psyche, in which we can see that New York City has seduced, surprised, and amazed him. We are thrilled to share this work with our audiences."

The exhibition includes photographs, posters, Playbills and costumes from several of Grey's productions, "including the iconic Emcee costume from Cabaret, a crown worn in Goodtime Charley, and an original costume sketch for George M!"

Original caricatures of Grey by legendary artist Al Hirschfeld are also on view.

Grey has had three photography books published: "Pictures I Had to Take" (2003), "Looking Hard at Unexamined Things" (2006), and "1.3: Images from My Phone" (2009). A selection of his photos are featured in the exhibition. They "focus lovingly on small details of the urban environment, including graffiti, architectural details and sidewalks," according to MCNY. "In accentuating the forgotten detritus and the multitude of everyday details of the city, Grey's photographic work provides a quiet and poignant counterpoint to his life in the spotlight."

Grey won the Tony Award and the Academy Award for playing the Emcee in Cabaret. Grey's other stage credits include John Guare's Marco Polo Sings a Solo (1975) at the Public Theater; the title role in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of Chekhov's Platonov (1978); Larry Kramer's seminal The Normal Heart (1986) at the Public Theater; the American Repertory Theatre's production of Ibsen's When We Dead Awaken (1991) at the Sao Paulo Biennale, directed by Robert Wilson; Herringbone at Hartford Stage (1992); John Patrick Shanley's A Fool and Her Fortune (NY Stage and Film, 1992); and the Roundabout Theatre production of Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do! (1999), for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

The Museum of the City of New York is at 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street. For more information, visit www.mcny.org.