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COLLECTION | ADVISORY BOARD | DONATIONS | OTHER RESOURCES

The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre at Goodspeed is the only library dedicated solely to American musical theatre in the world. The collection boasts more than 100,000 items, providing an invaluable resource to artists, scholars, educators, students, and Goodspeed Musicals staff. Dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of the art form, the library carefully maintains a comprehensive collection of scores, sheet music, scripts, original cast recordings, programs, photographs, and theatre memorabilia in a facility located in East Haddam, Connecticut. Currently, these reference tools are utilized by Goodspeed staff and the musical theatre community at large in the re-creation and revitalization of period musicals and in the creation and development of new works. Established in the 1970s to provide historical research for Goodspeed Musicals productions, The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre is the only specialized library in the country directly connected to a professional producing musical theatre. To access the online catalog, please To access the online catalog, please click here.

THE LIBRARY IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC TUES-FRI 12PM TO 5PM

Mission:

The mission of the Scherer Library of Musical Theatre is to preserve the heritage and rich legacy of the American musical theatre so that it can be a resource for artists, scholars, educators, students, and Goodspeed staff.  The Scherer Library staff will secure and preserve significant performance materials and other musical theatre related resources which represent the growth, development, and maturity of this important art form. Materials will be preserved for their importance as historical records and for their value to Library patrons.    

Scherer Library of Musical Theatre Goals:

a) To preserve the heritage and the rich legacy of the American musical theatre

b) To provide artists, scholars, educators, and Goodspeed staff with access to musical theatre resources

c) To promote and propagate musical theatre

d) To concentrate Library resources on acquisition and preservation

e) To make parts of the collection available to the general public through specialized exhibition or carefully controlled channels of distribution on a case-by-case basis

Read a complete history of the Scherer Library of Musical Theatre

Review the Scherer Library Policy Manual

READ A HISTORY OF HOW GOODSPEED WAS SAVED FROM THE WRECKING BALL: THE SAVIORS OF THE GOODSPEED OPERA HOUSE

Michael Feinstein's American Songbook tours The Scherer library of Musical Theatre

Collection

Our collection includes:

  • Recordings: Sound recordings from the turn of the century to the present in all formats, highlighted by original musical cast recordings, operettas, and film musical soundtracks.
  • Printed Music: Sheet music, scores and song books from the 1850s to the present.
  • Books and Scripts: Reference books, biographies, periodicals, and music libretti.
  • Videos: A film musicals collection, funded in part by Xerox Foundation, Inc., and archival videos of Goodspeed productions.
  • Theatre Programs: Programs and souvenir books from Broadway and around the world.
  • Photographs: Production and personality photographs from a variety of shows and recordings.
  • Memorabilia: Theatre ephemera, news clippings, scrapbooks, and posters.

The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre is fully accessible with viewing and listening equipment available on site. The materials in the Library  are available to the public for reference and research by appointment only, which may be made Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment, please contact Education Manager & Library Director, Erin Lafferty at 860.873.8664 x521 or elafferty@goodspeed.org.

A Priority Archive of more than 500 select items, including a full original partitur for West Side Story, a recording of Steven Sondheim performing Saturday Night, and signed books and letters from countless Broadway legends, can be viewed on the Connecticut Archives Online at this link.

The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre at Goodspeed relies solely on contributions for the growth of its collection. During the past three decades, the library has benefited from the generosity of many musical theatre professionals, collectors and enthusiasts, who have donated thousands of rare and important performance materials.

The Library’s Special Collections

The Carol & Frank Tuit Record Collection: An extensive collection of music by George Gershwin on tape, vinyl and acetate, including rare recordings.

Goodspeed Opera House Archives: Historical information on the Goodspeed Opera House, as well as libretti, scores, videos, orchestrations, and memorabilia from productions.

Janice Grower Sheet Music Collections: Two of the finest and most outstanding collections of rare Irving Berlin and George Gershwin sheet music donated by Janice Grower.  Janice Grower’s gift is made in honor of her son, Robert Grower, and her daughter, Kathy Grower Barkin.

The Josef Weinberger Collection: An extensive collection of libretti and scores donated by Josef Weinberger, London.

The Judge David I. Harfeld Collection: An extensive collection of vinyl recordings, cds, memorabilia, photographs, news clippings, reviews, and videos.

The Marnel Sumner Collection: A collection of original “Man of La Mancha” production documents and other assorted items compiled by Goodspeed’s Stage Manager for that production, Marnel Sumner. The collection was donated in his memory by his family.

The Michael Kuchwara Collection: Plays, scores, libretti, playbills and books. Established in his memory by his family and friends.

Musicarnival Audio Archive: Scherer Library and Cleveland Public Library are proud to house the Musicarnival Audio Archive, a rare collection of complete live recordings of musicals, operettas and operas performed at Cleveland’s famous tent theater-in-the-round between 1954 and 1965 (and its satellite theater in West Palm Beach, Florida, between 1958 and 1964). No similar body of recordings exists in America: They document a golden age of musical theater at a time when musical were in the center of American popular culture. Produced by John L. Price Jr., Musicarnival was a leader in the tent-theater movement of the 1950s and 60s, and the collection documents more than 100 productions, many of them staged by Don Driver (Your Own Thing) and featuring performers including Susan Johnson, Monte Amundsen, Tommy Rall, William Chapman, John Reardon and Mark Dawson. In addition, the young Beverly Sills stars in Tosca, Carmen, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and more. The recordings are accompanied by a 370-page book of annotations, and the musicals range from major works by Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Loewe to seldom-performed treasures such as Take Me Along, Milk and Honey, Bloomer Girl, and Fanny. Click HERE to read "Under the Tent: Notes on Musicarnival's Production Years, 1954-65".

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Sheet Music Library: The Department of Music Services donated its extensive collection of sheet music, which contains more than 30,000 titles dating back to the turn of the century, used in the heyday of radio and the early days of live television.

Music Theatre International Libretti and Scores: A complete collection of libretti and scores from musicals licensed by Music Theatre International.

The Patricia Hoag Simon Collection: Interviews with associates of Joshua Logan and taped seminars at Marymount Manhattan College from 1987 to 2010 with such individuals as Arthur Laurents, Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, and Chita Rivera. The collection was compiled by Patricia Hoag Simon, MFA; Associate Professor of Theatre; Marymount Manhattan College.      

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Libretti & Scores: A complete collection of libretti from musicals licensed by The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization.

The Crowley-Stoll Collection: Musical theatre window cards, memorabilia, and audio and video recordings.  With special thanks to Alex Membreno.

The Scherer Library Advisory Board

Members of the Library Advisory Board are a group of distinguished scholars, musical theatre historians, collectors, and prominent members of the professional community who guide and direct the growth of the Library as an important musical theatre archive. 

  • Ken Bloom, Author and Historian
  • Theodore S. Chapin, President of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization
  • Alvin Deutsch, Theatre Attorney
  • Christine N. Donohue, Founder and former President of The Donohue Group, Inc.
  • Brian Drutman, former Director of Decca Broadway
  • Michael Kerker, Director of Musical Theatre for ASCAP
  • Attorney Robert Kimball, Author and Head of the Cole Porter Estate
  • Bruce Pomahac, Director of Music at The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization
  • Bill Rosenfield, Recording Executive
  • Henry Scherer, Historian
  • Steven Suskin, Author

Donations

Goodspeed welcomes the donation of materials relating to musical theatre or financial gifts to the Library. For more information, please contact Education Manager & Library Direct, Erin Lafferty at 860.873.8664 x521 or elafferty@goodspeed.org.

Other Resources

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses one of the world's most extensive combinations of circulating, reference, and rare archival collections in its field, including non-book materials such as historic recordings, videotapes, autograph manuscripts, correspondence, sheet music, stage designs, press clippings, programs, posters and photographs. 

The Performing Arts Reading Room is the access point for the collections in the custody of the Music Division at the Library of Congress, including classified music and book collections, music and literary manuscripts, iconography, microforms, periodicals, musical instruments, published and unpublished copyright deposits, and close to 500 special collections in music, theater, and dance. 

Bringing together music, dance, theatre and cinema, the Surrey Performing Arts Library has materials suitable for schools, amateurs and professionals, plus thousands of vocal, orchestral and play sets for groups. 

The American Musical Theatre Collection (AMTC) at the Yale Irving S Gilmore Music Library contains scores, sheet music, manuscripts, books, memorabilia, and recordings.  

The Lila Acheson Wallace Library at Juilliard is a comprehensive resource for the School's performance and research needs; the collection includes more than 85,000 music performance and study scores.

The Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance at Cornell University includes books, periodicals and printed music. More than 60,000 sound and video recordings are available at the Library.

The Harvard Theatre Collection was the first collection of its kind to be established in this country, and it stands as one of the largest performing arts collections in the world, the oldest theatre collection in the world of international significance. 

The Albert Alphin Library at Boston Conservatory at Berklee supports the instruction, research, and informational needs of the Conservatory community by acquiring, maintaining, and preserving access to materials and information in a variety of formats in the areas of dance, music, theater, and liberal arts. 

The Werner Josten Performing Arts Library serves the life, culture and mission of Smith College by curating collections and services in music, theatre, dance and allied interdisciplinary areas that meet the needs of students and faculty for discovery, in-depth research, performance and enjoyment. 

The Blanche and Irving Laurie Music Library Collection in the Mabel Smith Douglass Library at Rutgers University contains approximately 31,000 books, 46,000 scores, and 40,000 recordings, as well as an extensive spoken-word collection. 

The Mendel Music Library collections support the complex and varied research and performance needs of Princeton’s preeminent music faculty, some fifty graduate students in musicology, music theory, and composition, undergraduate music majors and non-majors participating in the various performance ensembles, and Princeton students, faculty, and staff from all subject areas who include music as part of their interdisciplinary study or personal interest. 

From the University of the Arts, the Music Library's collections are strong in performance and study score editions, scores of twentieth-century schools of composition, jazz transcription anthologies, and songs of the contemporary American theater. 

The George and Sherry Middlemas Arts and Humanities Library at Penn State University provides library collections and services relating to area studies, classics, dance, film, history, languages, literature, music, philosophy, religious studies, theater, and the visual arts. 

The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library (MSPAL) at the University of Maryland is the central location on the College Park campus for music, theatre, and dance materials.

The Music Library at the University of Virginia supports research in musicology, theory and analysis, composition, performance, jazz, musical theater, ethnic and world music, popular music, and folk music. 

The Conservatory Library collection at Oberlin College consists of approximately 345,000 items, comparable to the largest music libraries in academic settings both public and private.

The Performing Arts Library at Kent State houses items relating to the study and performance of music, theatre and dance, including a solid foundation of western art music from all historic periods, complete editions of the works of major composers, scripts of standard theatre repertoire, as well as ever-growing collections in the areas of play scripts, chamber music, operas, musical theatre, world music, and Ohio musicians and performers. 

The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee Theatre Research Institute in the Thompson Library at Ohio State University includes collections of personal papers; organizational archives; costume, scene, lighting designs, and technical theater documentation; costumes; models of stage sets and theaters; photographs; posters; artwork; film, videotape and sound recordings, regalia; and other types of documentation. 

The Visual and Performing Arts Library (VPAL) at Western Kentucky University includes collections on art, dance, fashion, interior design, music, photography, and theatre.

The Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University is one of the world's oldest and largest research centers devoted to the study of American folk and popular music.

The Barbara A. Cooke Musical Theatre Collection in the LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Library at the University of St. Francis includes sheet music, complete scores, musical theater reference books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, LP records, theatre magazines and much more. 

The Roosevelt University Performing Arts Library features one of the best academic music and theatre collections in Illinois; the Library and listening center offers over ninety thousand volumes including books, scores, recordings, video and numerous databases and the Performing Arts Library archives contain many historically important documents, rare books, scores and sound recordings. 

Recognized as one of the world's major music collections, the University of Michigan Music Library supports the performance, teaching, and research activities of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. 

The Performing Arts Archives was established in 1971 by the University of Minnesota Libraries for the preservation and study of the records relating to the history of theatre, music, dance, and associated organizations in Minnesota. 

With 500,000+ items, the Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers an exceptional collection of scores, books, media, journals, sheet music, rare and archival materials. 

The Hurley Music Library is the largest music library in the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas tri-state region. The library houses a large collection of scores, compact disks, DVDs, videocassettes, and LPs (vinyl), as well as a comprehensive reference collection. Music books and journals are located in nearby Magale Library, the main library on campus.

The Larry Taylor-Billy Matthews Musical Theater Archive is a comprehensive collection of materials focusing primarily on American musical theater and popular music.

The Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries is an eclectic mixture of mainly non-book, primary research materials.

The Ransom Center is an internationally renowned humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin. Its extensive collections provide unique insight into the creative process of writers and artists, deepening our understanding and appreciation of literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts. 

The Katherine W. Dumke Fine Arts & Architecture Library located on the second floor of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. 

The Child Drama Collection at Arizona State University contains materials that document the international history of theatre for youth from the 16th to the 21st centuries.

The Cornish Library offers a specialized collection of Visual and Performing Arts materials.  The On-Site Collection includes 30,000 books, 5,200 music scores, 140 journal titles, 45,000 slides, 7,000 CDs and other music recordings, and 3,700 videos. 

The Performing Arts Collection in the Davidson Library at the University of California Santa Barbara contains over 76,000 cataloged holdings including recordings, manuscripts, photographs, and artwork that document and support research on local, national, and international performing arts. 

The Jerwood Library supports Trinity Laban’s mission to bring together performers and practitioners to train, collaborate, research and perform in inspiring creative, intellectual and physical spaces.

The Weill-Lenya Research Center is the principal international repository for research materials related to the life and work of composer Kurt Weill (1900- 1950) and actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). 

The Allesee Dance and Opera Resource Library is the official library and archive for Michigan Opera Theatre, and specializes in research materials specific to dance, opera, and MOT's forty year history.

The Museum of Performance + Design’s Performing Arts Library makes accessible materials about the performing arts, with a special emphasis on documenting and preserving the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich and diverse performing arts heritage from the Gold Rush to the present. 

The Paramount Library of Popular Music consists of ten distinct collections, with a total of approximately 100,000 entries dating from the 1850s to 1980.

The Theatre Alberta Library is Canada’s largest independent fully-circulating theatre library, with over 21,500 titles of playscripts, musicals, periodicals, and reference materials.

ArenaPAL is the UK's largest specialist image library for the performing arts and delivers instant access to over 3 million contemporary and historic performing arts images across our entire collection of opera, classical music, theatre, rock, pop, jazz, world music, circus, modern dance, comedy, ballet, musical theatre, education, authors, playwrights and musicians.

Arts Centre Melbourne is the proud custodian of the Australian Performing Arts Collection (APAC), which is dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of Australia’s circus, dance, music, opera and theatre heritage.  

 

Goodspeed Musicals The Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre