Past exhibition
City Center as seen by Hirschfeld
New Exhibition at New York City Center
» New York City Center & NY Public Library for the Performing Arts
October 10, 2018 to March 3, 2019

On the night of December 11, 1943, New York City Center was dedicated by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia with the mission of bringing the performing arts to the widest possible audience. As the first performing arts center in Manhattan, the fledgling institution broke new ground by presenting dance, music, theater, and opera under the same roof—setting the mold for the presentation of the arts around the country in the second half of the 20th century. Two new exhibitions in New York explore the rich cultural history of City Center, and each includes a gallery of Hirschfeld drawings, prints and reproductions.

City Center is where George Balanchine established New York City Ballet and where Leonard Bernstein conducted his own orchestra for the first time. Carol Channing and Bernadette Peters made their New York stage debuts there; Beverly Sills and Plácido Domingo became stars there; Chicagothe longest running American musical on Broadway, came back to life there as part of Encores! series. It is where history was made when, for the first time, African American performers were offered contracts to be members of major opera and dance companies.

Over six decades, Al Hirschfeld saw virtually every major theatrical production at New York City Center. Beginning with Volpone in 1948, Hirschfeld drew more than 40 City Center productions over a half-century, and his artwork was often used to publicize shows and sometimes, whole seasons. No other artist so thoroughly documented City Center’s offerings over the last seventy-five years. His drawings form a marvelously evocative archive of limited-run City Center productions that survive in almost no other form.

The first exhibition is at City Center itself, where visitors can see a variety of archival installations that greet you as soon as you walk into the lobby. You can learn the Leading Ladies of City Center, Jerome Robbins' history at the venue, murals celebrating the Encores! series as well as their wonderful Fall for Dance Festival, and take a peek backstage in the form of backstage show boards, designed and autographed by the cast and crew of each production—a unique tradition that they are sharing with the public for the first time. Right off the lobby is a gallery of 13 Hirschfeld artworks including images of Carmen Jones, Orson Welles as King Lear, and the legendary French mime, Marcel Marceau, who made City Center his New York home for decades. This exhibition will be up through the entire 2018-2019 season.

Nearby at Lincoln Center at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, there is another free exhibition celebrating the 75 years of performances at City Center that is on view through march 2nd. In addition to the many wonderful pieces of ephemera and objects from the eight decades of shows, a sumptuous dance mural featuring many of the legendary dancers and dance companies that have performed at City Center, and a special installation on musical theater there, on the second floor of the show is another gallery of 15 Hirschfelds that include Paul Robeson’s Othello, Jose Ferrer in four different shows in one season, the debut of the Grand Kabuki in America, as well as portraits of Beverly Sills, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp.

Although Hirschfeld only drew one Encores! production—Chicago—he was a regular presence at the series ’Sunday matinee performances, where he witnessedthe rebirth of numerous musicals that he had drawn intheir original Broadway runs. What was Bob Fosse really like in Pal Joey? How did Barbara Cook and Farley Granger reinvent The King and I? The answers lie in these originalink drawings, prints, and reproductions. Both exhibitions are free and open to the public so visit them, and perhaps stay a show in the New York’s greatest performing arts centers.


David Leopold , Creative Director


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Past exhibition
Today's Broadway as seen by Hirschfeld
New Algonquin Installation
» The Algonquin Hotel
June 6, 2018 to August 8, 2018

In celebration of the 2018 Broadway season, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation and the Algonquin Hotel have partnered for an exhibit featuring 21 large-scale reproductions of the late caricaturist’s work. 

Presented June 21 and running through August, the installation will showcase Hirschfeld drawings of shows, performers, playwrights, lyricists and composers that you can see on Broadway today.

The Algonquin has played a role on Broadway since its debut in 1902. Actors, directors, designers and producers have gathered in the hotel lobby and/or stayed in the hotel’s rooms for more than a century. Shows such as My Fair Lady, were in part written here, or in some cases rewritten here. Al Hirschfeld was a part of Broadway almost as long as the Algonquin. His first theatrical works appeared in 1926, and over nine decades his artwork became as much of a part of the Broadway experience as opening night itself. Today he remains a part of Broadway with a theater named in his honor, and his drawings continue to capture the magic of the stage. We present his images of shows still running, original productions of shows in revival, and the writers and composers who created the shows we enjoy today.

In addition to My Fair Lady, you can see other current Broadway shows such as Carousel, Hello, Dolly!, The Phantom of the Opera, and Bruce Springsteen as well as creators of the shows like Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tom Stoppard, Kander and Ebb, and Lerner and Loewe.

This is the fourth year in a row the Algonquin and the Hirschfeld Foundation have partnered on an exclusive installation. 


The Algonquin Hotel is located at 59 W. 44th Street, New York City.