Biographical / Historical
Phillip A. Graneto is a theatrical designer and illustrator. Originally he collected the bulk of this material with the intention of writing and publishing a book on Broadway and Off Broadway theatres of New York, New York centering on the decade of the 1920s. Graneto began researching and writing, gathering programs from each of the then existing theatres, fleshing out their histories with notes about their productions, changes in names and purpose, and in some cases their ultimate demolition. He collected and assembled the theatre programs into four binders with accompanying notes. Ultimately the proposed book did not come to fruition.
Graneto writes about the 1920s New York theatre scene, "The decade of the 1920s was a period of wild speculation in many areas, and the audience for live theatre in the New York area was enormous. Building theatres seemed like a great way to make lots of money. And then, the bubble burst. When motion pictures learned to talk in 1927 show business moved to Hollywood, and took much of Broadway's glamour with it."
Graneto goes on to write, "The 1920s is a seminal decade in the history of American Entertainment. The names Ziegfeld, Belasco, Cohan, Barrymore, Jolson, Shubert, Brice, and Cantor written in white lights on Broadway's theatre marquees cast a unique spell over 20th century entertainment as it developed from the Stage to Radio, to Film and ultimately to Television. These beautiful little colored booklets are part of that story. These cherished mementos of great performances and special occasions have survived in cedar chests, chifferobes, and bookcases for nearly a hundred years because of the uniqueness of the performers and the plays, but also because the booklets are beautiful."
The programs from the decade of the 1920s, in many ways, represent the colorful, Bohemian, Jazz Age attitude of the United States before the Great Depression of the 1930s and the subsequent entry of the United States into World War II. A time when New York City was the cultural capital of the entire United States.
Letter, Keen, Cathy to Graneto, Phillip, undated (Archives Center control file AC1486) E-mail, Graneto, Phillip to Lintelman, Ryan, 2019 July 21 (Archives Center control file AC1486)