The Swing Mikado: Gilbert and Sullivan Reinvented in 1938

Cast photo of Swing Mikado, Chicago, 1938. Federal Theatre Project photographs #C0205 Box 46, Folder 17

Here in the Special Collections Research Center, we are gearing up for #GandS2017 – our celebration of all things Gilbert and Sullivan, culminating in the opening of an exhibit of materials from the David and Annabelle Stone Gilbert and Sullivan Collection.

One of Gilbert and Sullivan’s popular comic operas is The Mikado; or, The Town of Titpu. It opened on March 14, 1885 and ran for 672 performances as a production of the famous D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.

The Mikado remains popular, and in the years since it opened, has been updated and re-imagined. In 1938, The Swing Mikado premiered in Chicago as a production of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Theatre Project. The production was conceived and directed by Harry Minturn, with swing re-orchestrations of Sullivan’s music by Gentry Warden. First staged by an all-black company in Chicago, it became a huge hit with audiences black and white alike. It also featured a live swing orchestra. The show was later produced on Broadway to similar acclaim.

Cast photo of Swing Mikado, Chicago, 1938. Federal Theatre Project photographs #C0205 Box 46, Folder 17

The Federal Theatre Project itself was a New Deal program to fund live artistic programs during the Great Depression, one of numerous relief measures to employ artists, writers and theatre workers.

Russian Ballet in Paris 1909 – 1921

Collection des plus beaux numéros de ComÅ“dia illustré et des programmes consacrés aux ballets & galas russes, depuis le début à Paris, 1909-1921 (Sp.Col. GV1787 .B7 1922) is a recent acquisition for our rare book collection. The book is a visually exciting French language collection of programs for Ballets Russes from the 1909 – 1921 seasons in France. The programs present great examples of early 20th century European techniques and styles of illustration and photo engraving. They are also an excellent resource for those doing research on Russian ballet from that time period.

Nijinsky dans "La Peri"

Nijinsky dans "La Peri"

Saison Russe 1910

Saison Russe 1910

La Legende de Joseph

La Legende de Joseph

Le Dieu Bleu

Le Dieu Bleu

Vera Fokina

Vera Fokina