Brustein, Robert (1927- )

The Robert Brustein collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, memorabilia, professional material, diaries and journals, financial material, legal material, printed material, notebooks, photographs, video recordings, and other items.

Manuscripts by Brustein in the collection include his books Seasons of Discontent: Dramatic Opinions, 1959-1965 (1965); The Third Theatre (1969); Revolution as Theatre: Notes on the New Radical Style (1971); The Culture Watch: Essays on Theatre and Society, 1969-1974 (1975); Critical Moments: Reflections on Theatre and Society, 1973-1979 (1980); Making Scenes: A Personal History of the Turbulent Years at Yale, 1966-1979 (1981); Who Needs Theatre: Dramatic Opinions (1987); Reimagining American Theatre (1991); Dumbocracy in America: Studies in the Theatre of Guilt, 1987-1994 (1994); Cultural Calisthenics: Writings on Race, Politics and Theatre (1998); and The Siege of the Arts: Collected Writings, 1994-2001 (2001); The Collected Plays of Robert Brustein (2005); Millenial Stage (2001-2005), as well as The Plays and Prose of August Strindberg (1964), edited by Brustein. Also present are several drafts of Brustein’s play Nobody Dies on Friday (1998-1999), as well as translations of that work into German and Italian.

Manuscripts for Brustien’s adaptations of plays by others include Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts (ca. 1982); Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling (1985); Luigi Pirandello’s Tonight we Improvise (1986); Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull (based on a translation by George Calderon; Ivan R. Dee, 1992); Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken (Ivan R. Dee, 1992); August Strindberg’s The Father (Ivan R. Dee, 1992); Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Schlemiel the First (1993); Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck (Ivan R. Dee, 1997); Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author (Ivan R. Dee, 1998); Ibsen's The Master Builder (1999); Three Farces and a Funeral, adapted from the works and life of Anton Chekhov (2000); and others.

Other manuscripts by Brustein in the collection include numerous articles and reviews for various periodicals (including Harper’s, The New Republic, The New York Times, Partisan Review, and Commentary ); speeches regarding specific individuals (including Elliot Norton, Mike Wallace, Clare Bloom, and Everett Raymond Kinstler), speeches given at academic institutions (including several speeches and addresses given to students at the Yale School of Drama, 1969-1977), and other speeches; radio talks; “letters to the editor” (1972-1990); and other items.

Manuscripts by others in the collection consist of several plays by various authors. Most of these items are not “original” manuscripts, but rather copies (photocopies, typed copies, or other copies) made for the purposes of rehearsal and performance. Many scripts include annotations and corrections, along with letters and/or professional material. Authors present include George Abbott, Robert Auletta, Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Samuel Beckett, Albert Bermel, Edward Bond, Bertolt Brecht, Geoffrey Bush, Roy Campbell, Albert Camus, Norma Cates, Kenneth Cavander, Anton Chekhov, J. R. Cochran, Don DeLillo, Charles Dizenzo, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Christopher Durang, Euripides, David Epstein, Elizabeth Egloff, Erika Ehn, Jules Feiffer, Michael Feingold (adaptations), Ken Friedman, Carlos Fuentes, Carlo Gozzi, Jean Genet, Leslie Glass, Stuart Greenman, Nikolai Gogol, Sidney Goldfarb, Philip Glass, Jean Giraudoux, Janusz Glonacki, Natalia Ginzburg, Neil Gaiman, William Hauptmann, Joseph Heller, Katherine Harrington, Vaclav Havel, Alan Havis, Keith Hack, Rodney Hudson, Albert Innaurato, Eugene Ionesco, Mark Jenkins, Joseph Conrad, Heiner Kupphudt, Nancy Kline, Arthur Kopit, Milan Kundera, Mark Leib (adaptations), Frederico Garcia Lorca, Yuri Lyubimov, David Mamet, Charles Marowitz, Yamasaki Masaku, Grace McKeaney, Terence McNally, Thomas Middleton, Moliere, Ferenc Molnar, Slawomir Mrozek, John Ford Noonan, Marsha Norman, Eugene O’Neill, Brian Phillips, Sergei Prokofiev, David Rabe, Ronald Ribman, Susan Rivers, Michael Sayers, William Shakespeare, Sam Shepard, Richard Sheridan, Burt Shevelove, Isaac Bashevis Singer, August Strindberg, Michael Stephens, William and John Stevens, Ted Tally, Yale Udoff, Paula Vogel, Andrej Wajda, Kurt Weill, Arnold Weinstein, Robert Wilson, and Arthur Yorinks.

Correspondence in the collection is extensive. It includes professional letters, personal letters, and general correspondence.

Professional letters in the collection include items regarding the Yale School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theatre (1966-1979), including correspondence with Joseph Papp as well as letters written to and from Brustein while he was on sabbatical in England working as a theatre critic for The Observer (1971-1973); items regarding the American Repertory Theatre (1979-2001); and items regarding published reviews and essays by Brustein (1969-2001).

Personal letters in the collection include several items regarding Brustein’s family (1967-1999); items regarding Brustein’s friend Ali Taygun, a Turkish prisoner of conscience (1984-1985); and various letters from friends, colleagues, and fans (1970-1999).

General correspondence in the collection includes numerous items dating from 1949 to 2001; included with these letters are printed items, manuscript fragments, photographs, and professional material.

Notable correspondents in the collection are too numerous to list in full; they primarily consist of significant figures from the fields of drama and literature. Names include Edward Albee, Woody Allen, Kathy Bates, Saul Bellow, Eric Bentley, Claire Bloom, Harold Bloom, Eric Bogosian, Derek Bok and Sissela Bok, Art Buchwald (several items), McGeorge Bundy, Carol Burnett, Carol Channing, Bill Clinton, Don DeLillo, Michael Dukakis, Jules Feiffer, Carlos Fuentes, John Kenneth Galbraith, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Larry Gelbart, Katharine Graham, Joseph Heller, Lillian Hellman, John and Barbara Hersey, Irving Howe, Lady Bird Johnson, John Irving, Edward M. Kennedy, Walter Kerr, John Kerry, Everett Raymond Kinstler (several items), Jerzy Kosinski, John Lahr, Eppie Lederer (Ann Landers), Rocco Landesman, Jack Lemmon, John Lithgow, William H. Macy, Norman Mailer, David Mamet, Steve Martin, Jo Mielziner, Paul Newman, Elliot Norton, Joyce Carol Oates, Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joseph Papp, Robert Pinsky, Tony Randall, Diana Rigg, Philip Roth, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Isaac Bashevis Singer, Anna Deavere Smith Susan Sontag, Meryl Streep, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, Diana Trilling, Donald Trump, Paul Tsongas, John Updike, Christpher Walken, Mike Wallace, Robert Penn Warren, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson, Edmund Wilson, and Irene Worth.

Memorabilia in the collection includes an award from Camp Robin Hood (1934); the Elliot Norton Award (1983); the George Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism (1986-1987); the Commonwealth Award (2001); a framed ceramic plate; a painted parrot; and other items.

Professional material consists of subject files regarding various subjects, all compiled and arranged by Brustein. The files contain various items, including correspondence, financial material, professional material, printed material, photographs, and other items. Subjects include the Yale University School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theatre Company (1966-1979); the National Endowment for the Humanities (1971-1973); the National Endowment for the Arts (1965-1971); Theatre Development Fund, Inc. (1971); the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS; 1973-1974); Harvard University (1995, 2001); the American Repertory Theatre (1979-2002); applications to The Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue (1998); various publications by Brustein (1960-1994), and the Pulitzer Prize nominating jury (2001-2002). The subject files regarding Brustein’s publications include letters by several notable correspondents, including Art Buchwald, Don DeLillo, David Mamet, Eric Bentley, Robert Wilson, John Hersey, Susan Sontag, Robert Penn Warren, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, Joseph Heller, Edmund Wilson, Lillian Hellman, McGeorge Bundy, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Joseph Papp, Ali Taygun, Mike Wallace, Christopher Walken, Derek Bok, Philip Roth, and Edward M. Kennedy.

Also present in the collection are Brustein’s daily planners from 1963 and 1979-1999 (1996 is not present), as well as two Rolodexes belonging to Brustein.

Diaries and journals in the collection include diaries kept by Brustein from 2002 to 2006.

Financial material in the collection consists of material regarding various aspects of Brustein’s personal finances. These items include invoices, real estate documents, banking records, investment records, insurance documents, royalty statements, and other miscellaneous items. This material dates from 1966-1996.

Legal material in the collection primarily consists of various contracts (personal and professional). The series includes an agreement between the American Repertory Theatre and Harvard University to establish an Institute for Advance Theatre Training (1985-1986), and Brustein’s 1997 deposition, among other items. This material dates from 1966 to 1997.

Printed material in the collection includes proofs of books by Brustein and various authors; photocopied plays by various authors, used for rehearsals and performances; printed versions of writings by Brustein; numerous newspaper and magazine clippings regarding various topics; several programs regarding performances of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre; and posters for productions of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre.

Page proofs and advance proofs for books by various authors in the collection include the follwing works: Jane Kramer, Unsettling Europe (1980); Gerald Berkowitz, New Broadways: Theatre Across America 1950-1980 (1982); Milan Kundera, translated by Michael Henry Heim, Jacques and his Master: An Homage to Diderot in Three Acts (1985); Dario Fo, Archangels Don’t Play Pinball (1987); Jadwiga Kosicka and Daniel Gerould, A Life of Solitude: Stanislawa Przybszewska: A Biographical Study with Selected Letters (1987); Jan Kott, translated by Jadwiga Kosicka, Still Alive: An Autobiographical Essay (1994); Michael Roemer, Telling Stories: Postmodernism and the Invalidation of Traditional Narrative (1995); Maurice Harmon, No Author Better Served: The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett and Alan Schneider (1998); Sally Peters, Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman (1996); Meryle Secrest, Stephen Sondheim: A Life (1998). The collection also includes proofs of several books by Brustein, including Letters to a Young Actor (2004) and The Face Lift (2006).

Photocopied plays in the collection include works by Pirandello, Lyubimov, Strindberg, Gozzi, Brecht, Thornton Wilder, Robert Wilson, and others.

Printed essays by Brustein consist of essays by Brustein, including “The Humanist and the Artist,” Brustein’s McDermott Award talk (1982) and “George P. Elliot,” reprinted from The American Scholar (1986).

Newspaper and magazine clippings include printed reviews by Brustein (1980-1988); reviews of performances at Yale and the American Repertory Theatre (1956-2002); items about Brustein (1972-1997); items regarding Robert Woodruff (1986-1996); various newsletters (1966-1997); government publications (1952, 1963); academic journals, some with writings by Brustein (1959-2001); various magazines with articles by or about Brustein (1962-1998); and other items.

Programs from the Yale Repertory Theatre date from 1969 to 1982; they also include a program for Faust, Part 1 from 1949 listing Brustein in the cast. Programs from the American Repertory Theatre date from 1981 to 1997. In addition, the collection includes programs from the Hasty Pudding Theatre, New Stages, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Lincoln Theatre Showcase, the Williamstown Theatre (1965-1969), the Metropolitan Opera House (1941-1942), and other various theatre productions in the United States and United Kingdom (1938-2011). Programs for other productions include Mortal Terror, and a program for Group 20 Players Inc. of Massachusetts, among other items.

Posters for Yale Repertory Theatre productions date from the 1970s, while the American Repertory Theatre posters date from the 1980s and 1990s. Other posters include a Marcel Marceau poster, inscribed to Brustein (2000).

Also present are annual reports from Yale and the American Repertory Theatre (1980-2001).

Notebooks in the collection consist of Brustein’s school notebooks, as well as later writings. School notebooks include items from Amherst College (1947-1948), Yale University (1949), Columbia University (1950-1951), and the University of Nottingham (1953-1955). Three of the notebooks concern Brustein’s columns for The Observer (1972-1973). Several date from 1989 to 1999.

Photographs in the collection consist of professional prints (1930-1965); publicity shots (1965-1990); candid photos (1947-1986), including family and friends; the Brusteins and the Buchwalds on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (1977-1980); Brustein acting in various amateur theatre productions (1935-1968); Yale Repertory Theatre productions (1966-1979) as well as receptions and graduation ceremonies; the American Repertory Theatre (1980-1990), including productions, conferences, receptions, etc.; Harvard publicity shots; and other miscellaneous prints, negatives, contact sheets, and slides. Images of notable figures include Mike Wallace, William Styron, John Hersey, Claire Bloom, Anna Deavere Smith, August Wilson, Sid Caesar, Art Buchwald, Meryl Streep, Christopher Lloyd, Jon Voigt, and Philip Glass.

Video recordings in the collection include VHS, Beta, U-Matic format cassettes. Subjects include various American Repertory Theatre productions, talks by Brustein, classes, auditions, the A.R.T. Institute, and other subjects. This material dates from ca. 1984 to 2002.

Other items in the collection include audio recordings, scrapbooks (1940-2001), set design models for Ibsen’s Ghosts and other productions, medical material, and electronic media.

Notable Figures
1. Brustein, Robert Sanford, 1927-
Associated Subjects
1. Theatre and Film Subject Guide