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Goodspeed Musicals Adds Audio Archive to Library

A rare collection of complete live recordings of classic American musical theater will be made available over the next four years to visitors at two major venues: Goodspeed Musicals' Scherer Library of Musical Theatre in East Haddam, Connecticut, and Cleveland Public Library in Cleveland, Ohio.

The collection comprises recordings of more than 90 musicals and operettas that were mounted between 1954 and 1965 by John L. Price, Jr., founder and producer of Musicarnival, the tent theater-in-the-round that he operated for 22 years in suburban Cleveland and for six years in a satellite theater in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Goodspeed Musicals' library will add the set of Musicarnival recordings to one of the most extensive musical theater research facilities in the United States. Goodspeed's collection boasts more than 70,000 items, providing a singular resource to academics and professionals around the world.

"This audio collection is very exciting for us in part because we believe that no similar body of recordings exist in this country – the expansiveness is awesome," said Michael P. Price (no relation), Executive Director of Goodspeed Musicals since 1968. "In addition, the Musicarnival tapes demonstrate exceedingly high-quality musical theater outside New York City. This theater thrived in America's heartland, and its voice was loud and proud. Not coincidentally, one of the musicals in this collection is Walter Kerr's 'Sing Out, Sweet Land.'"

Theodore S. Chapin, a member of the Goodspeed's Scherer Library advisory board, is president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, which licenses the R&H works and many other musicals to theaters around the world.  "For those of us in musical theater, this collection is a terrific archaeological dig that will be studied for decades to come," he said.

Diana Price, the elder daughter of the producer, said, "My family is proud that our father's contribution to the American musical will be enjoyed at Cleveland Public Library and at Goodspeed, the national theater that celebrates the rich history of this art form. We are delighted that the two libraries are working jointly on the project."               

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