O'Donnell, Mark (1954-2012)

The Mark O’Donnell collection includes manuscripts, printed material, correspondence, professional material, video, audio, electronic media, photographs, notebooks, journals and diaries, scrapbooks, artwork, memorabilia, and other items.

Manuscripts in the collection include plays and essays. Play manuscripts include various stage plays and teleplays by O’Donnell, notably The Nice and the Nasty (1984), Great Scott! ‘Leather Weather’ (1992), A Flea in Her Ear (1998), Hairspray (2004), Cry Baby (2008), That’s all Folks! (undated), and Vertigo Park (undated). Essay manuscripts include various undated essays by O’Donnell. Also in the collection are drafts and fragments for several works including plays, sketches, short stories, poems, and speeches, notably several sketches written for Saturday Night Live and a collection of poem entitled The Six Conditions.

Printed material includes press clippings, programs, booklets, reviews, promotional material, fliers, proofs, book covers, maps, musical scores, and magazines. Clippings included are mainly regarding O’Donnell’s plays and books, including Let Nothing You Dismay (1998), Getting Over Homer (1996), the play Hairspray (2002) and others. Also present are programs for productions of O’Donnell’s work, festivals, and award shows. Magazines in the collection date 1973 to 2012. Also included in the collection are proofs for Getting Over Homer, and Let Nothing You Dismay as well as musical scores for “Tots in Tinseltown.” Other printed items consist of promotional material for various books, plays, and events including book covers for Let Nothing You Dismay, Vertigo Park, and Ignore Everybody. Also included are programs for O’Donnell’s memorial service in New York.

Correspondence in the collection consists of personal and professional letters. Personal letters consist of approximately fifty letters from family and friends (many include photographs and clippings), some postcards and telegrams, several fan letters, and over one hundred cards and invitations as well as several letters to pen pal Brad Burns. Professional letters consist of over one hundred letters and cards pertaining to O’Donnell’s writing and Broadway productions of his work. Correspondence dates from the 1960s to the 2010s.

Professional material includes items regarding a comedy writing course O’Donnell taught at Yale University; schedules and itineraries for public appearances and promotional tours; calendars dating from 2001 to 2010; subject files regarding correspondence, reviews, plays, and fan mail; press releases; a resume; grant applications; and production seminar material related to Hairspray. Other items include notes for appearances and professional work, and a press release for the Drama Desk Awards.

Video recordings in the collection (primarily VHS) include an American Theatre Wing production seminar on O’Donnell’s play Hairspray; an episode of the television comedy Strangers With Candy featuring O’Donnell; footage of O’Donnell winning his first Tony Award in 2003; talks given by O’Donnell; the 25th Reunion Talent Show;  and miscellaneous footage.

Audio recordings include radio interviews with O’Donnell talking about Getting Over Homer, Hairspray, and various interviews and appearances, including a 1996 appearance on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air. The collection also contains several tapes of radio programs, scripts readings, and musical recordings of songs for various productions. Also included are CDs of Cry Baby: the Musical, a Harvard class day recording, phone messages, and miscellaneous long-playing records.

Electronic media includes several floppy discs containing scripts for several productions as well as journal exerpts.

Photographs in the collection include both black and white and color prints of various plays and productions including Vertigo Park, That’s All Folks!, and Fables for Friends.

Notebooks in the collection include various notebooks dated between 1969 and 2005.

Journals and diaries include journals dated 2002 to 2010 and a diary from Getting Over Homer.

Scrapbooks in the collection consist mainly of clippings and photographs of various play performances and date between 1971 and 1978. Also included is a scrapbook titled ‘Visual Images, Found Objects, and Poetry’ which dates from 1953 to 1989 as well as multiple scrapbooks containing movie and celebrity clippings with material dating from 1930 to 1978.

Artwork in the collection includes several childhood artwork from family of O’Donnell, O’Donnell’s high school artwork, cartoons by O’Donnell including those published as comic strips, and a framed poster by Carter Burwell.

Memorabilia in the collection consists of awards, juvenilia, and transcripts. Awards include Tony Awards from 2002-2003 and 2007-2008 as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical (2002-2003). Juvenilia includes artwork, correspondence, plays, school reports, short stories, and essays from O’Donnell’s school days and college years. Transcripts date from 1964 to1974.

Other items include personal mementos, certificates, real estate listings, and miscellaneous items.

Notable Figures
1. O’Donnell, Mark
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
3. LGBT Subject Guide