Oct 31 - June 30

Curtain Up: Celebrating the Last 40 Years of Theatre in New York and London

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

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The Society of London Theatre and London's Victoria and Albert Museum have partnered with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center to celebrate the extraordinary story of the world's two greatest theatrical districts, London's West End and New York's Broadway in a ground-breaking new exhibition—Curtain Up: Celebrating Forty Years of Theatre in New York and London.

Curtain Up celebrates the coincidence of two anniversaries of the biggest awards for commercial theatre: 40 years of the Olivier Awards in London and 70 years of the Tonys® in New York. The exhibition explores the craft and collaboration that creates spectacular international theatre and displays a series of costumes, costume designs, set models, film clips, prompt scripts, photographs, and correspondence from plays and musicals that have won (or been nominated for) both a Tony® and Olivier Award, including Phantom of the Opera, In the Heights, Ma Rainey’s Black BottomA Chorus Line, and more!

On display are objects drawn from the collections of the V&A and The Library for the Performing Arts supplemented with key loans from private collections. Highlights include a set of costumes and puppets from Disney's The Lion King, the original costume designs from The Phantom of the Opera by Maria Bjornson shown alongside the costume worn by a recent West End Phantom; a selection of golden top hats from A Chorus Line which won both the Tony Award and the inaugural Olivier Award for Best New Musical; and the original set models for In the Heights, Arcadia, and War Horse.

Film clips from notable theatre productions from the V&A’s National Video Archive of Performance (NVAP) and NYPL’s Theatre on Film and Tape archive (TOFT) are embedded throughout.


This exhibition is organized by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), and the Society of London Theatre, in association with MasterCard. A special thanks to Theatre Development Fund, the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, and Disney Theatrical Productions for their support.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts gratefully acknowledges the leadership support of Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman. Additional support for exhibitions has been provided by Judy R. and Alfred A. Rosenberg and the Miriam and Harold Steinberg Foundation.

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New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery

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