Scope and Contents
The John Guare Papers document the work and life of the playwright John Guare. The papers consist of production files, correspondence, writings, writings of others, subject files, personal effects, personal papers, photographs, printed material, and computer and audiovisual media, spanning the years 1906–2015.
The bulk of the collection consists of production files for the many stage and screenplays authored by Guare. These production files include draft scripts, correspondence, and publicity materials such as theater programs. The papers shed light on his creative process and the stage production of his works. Correspondents include Edward Albee, Robert Brustein, Stockard Channing, Trevor Nunn, Stephen Sondheim, and Paula Vogel. Also present in the collection are works by other writers such as Lorraine Hansberry, Arthur Laurents, and William Saroyan.
- 1906 - 2015
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Box 58 (financial papers): Restricted until January 1, 2085. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
Boxes 131, 133, 164 (electronic media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. For further information, consult Access Services.
Boxes 64, 130, 165, 167 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. For further information, consult Access Services.
Box 166 (audiovisual material): Restricted pending review of content. For further information, consult Access Services.
Conditions Governing Use
The John Guare Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from George Robert Minkoff Inc. on the Adele Gutman Nathan Theatrical Collection Fund and the Edwin J. Beinecke Fund, 1995.
July 2012 Acquisition: Purchased from George Robert Minkoff Inc. on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, the Adele Gutman Nathan Theatrical Collection Fund, the Bradford F. and Lila L. Swan Fund, and various other funds, 2012. For more information consult the appropriate curator.
July 2015 Acquisition: Purchased from George Robert Minkoff Inc. on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2015.
Organized into six series: I. Professional Papers, 1962–1995. II. Works of Others, 1914–1982. III. Personal Papers, 1971–1989. IV. Printed Material, 1960–1995. V. July 2012 Acquisition, 1900s–2010. VI. July 2015 Acquisition, 1906–2015.
145.7 Linear Feet (166 boxes)
Language of Materials
The John Guare Papers document the work and life of the playwright and educator John Guare. The papers consist of production files, correspondence, writings, writings of others, subject files, personal effects, personal papers, photographs, printed material, and computer and audiovisual media. The bulk of the material spans the years 1962–2010.
John Guare, American playwright, was born in New York City on February 5, 1938 and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens. He was interested in theatre from a young age, writing his first play, "Universe," at age eleven. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University (1960) and his Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama (1963). His early works were well-received comic one-act plays, including To Wally Pantoni, We Leave a Credenza (1964), Cop-Out (1968) and Muzzeha (1968). He received an Obie Award for Muzzeha but did not gain national attention until 1971, with his first full-length play, The House of the Blue Leaves. The play received an Obie Award and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play. The same year, Two Gentlemen of Verona, won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics (he shared this with co-writer Mel Shapiro), and in 1972 won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. With these two plays, Guare became known as a leading American dramatist.
Guare's plays are characterized as highly theatrical, exploring the bizarre and comic sides of human relationships and desires. Their settings are varied, including several based in nineteenth-century America. He has also been involved in musical theatre. Since his initial success in 1971, Guare has worked steadily and successfully.
The 1986 Broadway revival of The House of Blue Leaves won Guare four Tony Awards. His Six Degrees of Separation (1990) won an Obie Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, London’s Olivier Award for Best Play, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. It was turned into a film in 1993. Two Gentlemen of Verona was revived in 2005 at the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park and Guare won (again sharing with Mel Shapiro) the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical.
Guare's other plays include Rich and Famous (1974); Landscape of the Body, for which he also wrote the songs (1977); Marco Polo Sings a Solo (1977); Bosoms and Neglect (1979); Lydie Breeze (1982); Gardenia (1982); The Race to Urga (1986); Women and Water (1990); Four Baboons Adoring the Sun (1992); Lake Hollywood (1999); Chaucer in Rome, sequel to The House of Blue Leaves (2001); and A Few Stout Individuals (2002). He also wrote the screenplay for Louis Malle's film Atlantic City (1980), for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
In addition to his work as a playwright, Guare is an influential leader in other areas of theatre. He was a founding member in 1965 of the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut and was a Resident Playwright at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1976. He currently teaches at the Yale School of Drama, co-produces the New Plays Reading Room Series at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, is a council member of the Dramatists Guild, and a co-editor of the Lincoln Center Theater Review. Other awards include the Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Awards for Drama.
This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call number: Uncat ZA MS 443.
This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and in some instances minimal organization.
As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Albee, Edward, 1928-2016
- American drama -- 20th Century
- Audiovisual materials
- Born digital
- Brustein, Robert Sanford, 1927-
- Channing, Stockard
- Dramatists -- United States -- 20th Century
- Dramatists, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Electronic documents
- Guare, John, 1938-
- Hansberry, Lorraine, 1930-1965
- Laurents, Arthur
- Nunn, Trevor
- Photographic prints
- Saroyan, William, 1908-1981
- Scripts (documents)
- Sondheim, Stephen
- Sound recordings
- Theater -- United States
- Theater programs
- Theater scripts
- Vogel, Paula
- Guide to the John Guare Papers
- by Beinecke staff and Nora Soto
- July 2013. Revised: April 2023
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
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New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
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New Haven, CT 06511
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