Saturday, March 11, 2006

ZICREES TOUR INSTITUTE OF THE AMERICAN MUSICAL


A few days ago, Elaine and I had the enormous pleasure of touring Miles Kreuger’s astonishing Institute of the American Musical.

We had wanted to do this for many years, ever since we first met Miles at one of Leonard Maltin’s famed Loew’s Whipple screenings of obscure films from the Thirties (held exclusively for world renowned experts in film and TV). Miles is the leading expert in the American musical – both stage shows and movies – and his 17-room manse is devoted exclusively to his phenomenal archive of everything from sheet music, playbills, recordings (every stage show recording from the 19th and 20th Centuries), rare films of Broadway performances, you name it.

Miles gave us a personal tour, and Elaine and I were simply awestruck. Miles grew up in the right place at the right time, as the myriad photographs signed personally to him from the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hammerstein and Rouben Mamoulian readily attest. Every corner of the Institute held a marvel!

And Miles himself is a walking encyclopedia, hugely charming, delightful and droll, full of astonishing anecdotes that are literally a personal history of the American musical. I mean, how many people can begin a story, “I was having dinner with W.C. Handy one night…”

Late in the tour, Miles showed us his favorite treasure – the original portrait done of him by the legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld (pictured below). For those of you unaware of this great artist, Hirschfeld was a fixture of the Broadway stage for most of the 20th Century (he lived almost to 100) and you had NOT arrived until Hirschfeld had done your portrait.

In the photo above, you see us posing at the end of the tour with Miles, raconteur extraordinaire, before the original oil portrait of stage and early film star Jeanne Eagels, and the portrait of Miles as a young man. Between these is a very rare photo of British stage sensation Ellen Terry (Shaw’s leading lady) in the role of Lady Macbeth.

All in all, it was a landmark day, one to remember forever – and we didn’t even see the second floor! (That will be for next time.)

Cheers,
Marc

3 Comments:

At 8:33 PM, Blogger aaronbrodkin said...

Hi Mark, They were talking about "STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES" on E! Channel's "The Soup" this weekend, thought you might like to know.

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger priyatel said...

Dear Miles

Its been ages since I spoke to you on the phone for the last time. I have had to move back to the 200 year old mansion which is undergoing major restoration. As I see your doing fantastic as usual. I can't find your telephone number anywhere. Please contact me at (347) 892-0646. I am in New York now for another magnificent jewelry auction. I will be at the island after this coming Sunday. My phone number is still (787) 450-4877. Please email me yours (drbell@alumni.princeton.edu)

Good bye

Truely yours

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

How many Ninas were in the portrait?

 

Post a Comment

<< Home