Phoenix Theatre records
Scope and Contents
The Phoenix Theatre Records consist of production files, administrative and financial records, correspondence, photographs, audio visual materials, production programs and posters, and other materials that document the organization, administration, financial activities, and productions of the Phoenix Theatre from its creation in 1953 to the closing of the company in 1982.
- circa 1932-1984
- Majority of material found within 1953 - 1982
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Boxes 865-897: Audiovisual material. Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Contact Access Services for further information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Phoenix Theatre Records 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
Gift of T. Edward Hambleton (Yale 1934), 1960-2003, and Mrs. T. Edward Hambleton, 2006.
Organized into eleven series: I. Production Files, 1948-1982. II. Photographs, 1954-1982. III. Administrative and Financial Files, 1944-1983. IV. Pressbooks, Scrapbooks and Clippings, circa 1932-1982. V. Music, 1948-1960. VI. Production Designs, 1954-1981. VII. Posters, 1948-1982. VIII. Production Programs, 1947-1982. IX. Publicity Files, 1953-1982. X. Publications, 1958-1967. XI. Audio Visual Materials, 1964-1984.
365.6 Linear Feet ((899 boxes) + 10 broadsides, 6 art)
Language of Materials
The Phoenix Theatre Records consist of production files, administrative and financial records, correspondence, photographs, music, audiovisual material, production programs and posters, and other materials that document the organization, administration, financial activities, and productions of the Phoenix Theatre from its creation in 1953 to the closing of the company in 1982.
Established by T. Edward Hambleton and Norris Houghton in 1953 as a non-commercial theatre production company, the Phoenix Theatre produced landmark productions of classic plays and works by new playwrights. In 1957, the company began operating as a not-for-profit company under Theatre Incorporated, a non-profit corporation in which Houghton had been involved in the 1940s. From 1959 to 1963, the Phoenix Theatre presented a permanent resident company, the Phoenix Acting company, which included Fritz Weaver, Donald Madden, Patrick Hines, Nan Martin, and Rex Everhart, among others. In 1964, Norris Houghton resigned from the Phoenix to pursue a treaching career in academia. From 1966 to 1969, the Phoenix maintained a partnership with Ellis Rabb’s Association of Producing Artists (APA), and produced shows in repertory in New York on Broadway and on tour in the U.S. and Canada as APA-Phoenix Repertory Company. From 1972 to 1975, the New Phoenix Repertory Company, under the artistic directorship of Harold Prince, Stephen Porter, and Michael Montel, featured seasonal resident companies that included Glenn Close, David Dukes, John Glover, Marybeth Hurt, Charles Kimbrough, and others. From the late 1970s until its final productions in 1982, the Phoenix developed and produced new works by emerging playwrights. As part of the company’s Sideshow series, the Phoenix presented theatrical productions, Ballet Theatre Workshop performances, operas and musical reviews, and staged readings.
During its thirty year history, the Phoenix Theatre produced 164 shows and introduced numerous theatre artists to New York audiences. Among them were Carol Burnett, who appeared in the 1959 production of Once Upon a Mattress, and Joan Plowright who made her New York debut in Ionesco’s The Chairs. Among the numerous premieres of new works at the Phoenix were Frank Gilroy’s Who’ll Save the Plowboy?, Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy and Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women and Others.
The Phoenix first occupied a theater on the corner of 12th Street and 2nd Avenue, and in 1961 the company moved to 334 East 74th Street. From 1966 through 1969, APA-Phoenix occupied the Lyceum Theatre on West 45th Street, and in the years following the breakup of the repertory company the Phoenix presented shows in eighteen additional New York venues including ANTA, Sheridan Square Theatre, the 48th Street Playhouse, the Barrymore, and Marymount-Manhattan, which was its last home.
Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
The collection is comprised of material formerly classed as ZA Phoenix, Uncat ZA MS 6, Uncat ZA MS 20, Uncat ZA MS 446, and Uncat MSS 902. The collection received preliminary processing at the time of acquisition and portions of the collection received additional processing in the late 1970s. Further organization, rehousing, and description was carried out in 2010.
Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn 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 basic processing.
- APA-Phoenix Repertory Company
- Hambleton, T. Edward, 1911-2005
- Houghton, Norris
- Incidental music -- Parts
- Motion pictures (visual works)
- Musicals -- Scores
- New Phoenix Repertory Company
- Phoenix Theatre (Organization : New York, N.Y.)
- Photographic prints
- Scripts (documents)
- Sound recordings
- Theater -- Production and direction -- New York (State) -- New York
- Theater -- United States
- Theater programs
- Theatre Incorporated (Organization : New York, N.Y.)
- Theatrical posters
- Guide to the Phoenix Theatre Records
- by Andrea Benefiel, Susan Brady and Olivia Coates
- December 2010
- 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
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.