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Benjamin Mordecai papers

 Collection
Call Number: YCAL MSS 790

Scope and Contents

The majority of the collection consists of production programs, photographs, window cards, posters, and other publicity material relating to theatrical productions produced by Benjamin Mordecai. Certificates, plaques and trophies of awards he received as producer of Angels in America, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, and other productions are included in the papers. In addition, there are legal and financial documents, correspondence, and other material relating to Golden Child, and computer disks containing various Jitney production records. Audiovisual material includes videocassette and compact disc recordings of theatrical productions, Tony Award programs, and Benjamin Mordecai's memorial service, and a record album of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Dates

  • 1975-2005

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 19, 27-28 (sound and video recordings): Use of originals is restricted. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 35 (computer disks): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Benjamin Mordecai 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

Gift of Sherry L. Mordecai, 2005-2006.

Arrangement

Organized into two groupings: I. October 2005 Acquisition, 1975-2005. II. May 2006 Acquisition, 1982-2005.

Extent

19.96 Linear Feet ((32 boxes) + 2 broadside folders, 1 record album storage, 1 art)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.mordecai

Overview

The majority of the collection consists of production programs, photographs, window cards, posters, and other publicity material relating to theatrical productions produced by Benjamin Mordecai at Yale Repertory Theatre and on Broadway. Award certificates, plaques and trophies he received as producer of Angels in America, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, and other productions are included in the papers. In addition, there are legal and financial documents, correspondence, and other material relating to the production Golden Child, and computer disks containing Jitney production records. Audiovisual material includes videocassette and compact disc recordings of theatrical productions, Tony Award programs, and Benjamin Mordecai's memorial service, and a long-playing record album of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Benjamin Mordecai (1944-2005)

Benjamin Mordecai was born in New York City in 1944. He graduated from Buena Vista University in 1967, and received his Master of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1968. He was a founder of the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis and the theater's producing director for eleven years (1971-1982). During his twenty-three year tenure at Yale University (1982-2005), Mordecai was associate dean and chair of the theater management program at the Yale School of Drama, and managing director of the Yale Repertory Theatre (1982 to 1993). Working closely with Yale School of Drama dean and Yale Repertory Theatre artistic director Lloyd Richards and the playwright August Wilson, Mordecai was the only person to have worked on the original productions of all ten plays in Wilson’s cycle of plays about the African-American experience in the 20th century. Under his management, five of August Wilson's plays, as well as plays by Authol Fugard, Lee Blessing, and Eugene O'Neill moved from Yale to Broadway. In 1992, Mordecai founded his own producing and management firm, and was managing partner of Producers Four, a theatrical development and producing company. During his career he was involved in national tours and resident productions in the United States as well as productions in Great Britain, Russia, and Eastern Europe. He was the recipient of numerous awards for productions including three Tony Awards for Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Angels in America; Drama Desk Awards for Fences and The Piano Lesson; and the Olivier Award for Jitney. He also received the Robert Whitehead Award for outstanding commercial producing; two NAACP Theatre Awards; and a Special Achievement Award from the New England Theatre Conference. The Yale Repertory Theatre received a Tony for outstanding regional theatre in 1991, during Mordecai’s tenure as the theater’s managing director. He died in New Haven in 2005.

Processing Information

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.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization, at or around the time of acquisition. The collection is comprised of material formerly classed as: Uncat MSS 831and Uncat MSS 877. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, titled according to month and year of acquisition. Descriptive information 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.
Title
Guide to the Benjamin Mordecai Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
by Beinecke staff
Date
November 2013
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

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

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.