The notable theatrical events so far, in this new decade, have taken place mostly outside of the provisional theatre. Robert Frost read his poem at President Kennedy's inaugural in Washington and the rostrum caught fire. FBI security agents rushed to the rescue and in full view of the TV audience (probably the largest ever assembled in the world's history) put out the fire by pouring ginger ale on it.
I speculated at the time on the various ways this spectacle would have been staged in other countries. In England, they probably would have removed Mr. Frost to a place of safety and then carted of the burning rostrum. In the Soviet Union, they no doubt would have arrested Mr. Frost. In France, the Pompiers would have perhaps just peed on the fire.
Other highlights of the past seasons have been Castro's performance up at the Hotel Thérèse in Harlem and Premier Kbrushchev's balcony scene from the second-boor porch of the Soviet Embassy on Park Avenue. Both of these turns have been (to borrow an adjective from Brooks Atkinson) “rewarding-'' But undoubtedly the most dramatic off-Broadway extravaganza so far has been the staggering production of shooting a man into outer space.
In the ensuing years I expect to find myself, on alternate weeks, either in New Haven, Boston, Philadelphia or Washington, making sketches of a show to be correlated into a design for the Sunday drama section of The New York Times. If my ink bottle holds out and the patience of my editors endures I intend to continue this procedure until space sends a man for me.
Al Hirschfeld 1961
Takes viewers back stage at rehearsals of Happy Days, Ghosts, Kwamina, and Milk and Honey.
Hirschfeld is photographed by Look magazine while sketching Joe Papp directing Much Ado About Nothing in Central Park.
American Theatre As Seen By Hirschfeld is published by George Braziller. Hirschfeld selects all the work, writes introductions to each decade and designs the book. It would remain his favorite collection of his work.
Creates seven drawings for the CBS Play of the Week.
For the Saturday Review, he submits "The Great Riveria Forgeries": a series of artist "self portraits" including Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, and Dali.
Hirschfeld draws Ionesco's Rhinoceros for producer Leo Kerz and meets Kerz's wife Louise, who would become his third wife in 1996.