New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Will Open Exhibition Featuring Theater Photography of Friedman-Abeles

The exhibition opens March 15 and runs through September 25, 2024.

By: Feb. 26, 2024
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The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center will soon celebrate the theater photography of the Friedman-Abeles Studio through a unique presentation of a selection of lenticular prints. These prints will animate a series of photographs from some of Broadway’s most beloved productions. The exhibition, entitled Reanimating Theater: The Photography of Friedman-Abeles, opens March 15 and runs through September 25, 2024.

From 1954–1970, the Friedman-Abeles Studio photographed the majority of the plays and musicals on Broadway. Although their black and white images are familiar to fans and historians, the studio also photographed many shows in color, and the Library for the Performing Arts received them as color slides.

The cost of reproducing these images in the pre-digital era meant that, aside from a few selections in record album liner notes or on magazine covers, these photographs have never been seen before. Over the last three years the Library has digitized all of the negatives for dozens of shows along with most of the color slides in the collection. The images are now showcased in a unique way in this exhibition.

This exhibition showcases selections of some of the studio’s most iconic images from Broadway hits like the original productions of Camelot, West Side Story, and Bye, Bye Birdie.

Rather than selecting a single shot from these shows, the Library for the Performing Arts has used the technology of lenticular printing to simulate animations of several of

the shots. These animations give a sense of the movement of the original production, and can reveal details that would be impossible to notice in a static image.

The exhibition is curated by Doug Reside, Lewis and Dorothy Cullman Curator, Billy Rose Theatre Division.

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Will Open Exhibition Featuring Theater Photography of Friedman-Abeles

Digitization was made possible through the generous support of the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Estate of June Reig Maxwell, The Schloss Family Foundation, and the Frederick Loewe Foundation, Inc.

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.

About the Library for the Performing Arts

The Library for the Performing Arts is dedicated to enhancing access to its rich archives of dance, theater, music, and recorded sound. As one of The New York Public Library’s renowned research centers—and one of the world’s largest collections solely focused on the performing arts—our mission is to amplify all voices and all of our holdings. At present, the collection at the Library for the Performing Arts includes upwards of eight million items, notable for their extraordinary range and diversity—from 11th-century music, to 20th-century manuscripts to contemporary hip-hop dance. The Library also is well known for documenting live theater, dance, and music, and is home to the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, which houses over 8,000 recordings of live Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

Photo Credit: Friedman-Abeles. Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts



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