The White Hart Speaker Series is presented in collaboration with The White Hart Inn, Scoville Memorial Library and Oblong Books & Music
Amanda Vaill, Jerome Robbins biographer (Somewhere) and authority, drawing on the vast and closely held Robbins archives, has put together a selection of his writings, giving us a sense of his extraordinary range as a thinker and artist, as well as a surprising and revealing glimpse into the mind and heart of this towering cultural giant.
Jerome Robbins was famous for reinventing the Broadway musical, creating a vernacular American ballet, pushing the art form to new boundaries where it had never gone before, integrating dance seamlessly with character, story and music, and as Associate Artistic Director, Ballet Master, and Co-Artistic Director, with George Balanchine, shaping the New York City Ballet. He was known as the king of Broadway, the most sought-after director-choreographer and show doctor who gave shape to On the Town (1944), The King and I (1951), Wonderful Town (1953), Peter Pan (1954), The Pajama Game(1954), West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Funny Girl (1964), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), and many other classic musicals. He shocked and betrayed those he loved and worked with by naming names to the House Un-American Activities Committee. (“I betrayed my manhood, my Jewishness, my parents, my sister,” he wrote in a diary. “I can’t undo it.”)
Interspersed throughout the book is his correspondence with George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Robert Graves, Lincoln Kirstein, Arthur Laurents, Tanaquil Le Clercq (the fourth of Balanchine’s four wives, with whom Robbins was also in love), Laurence Olivier, Stephen Sondheim, and more.
Vail is the author of Everybody Was So Young, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, Hotel Florida, and Somewhere, for which she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has written on arts and culture for New York, Esquire, Ballet Review, Architectural Digest, Town & Country, and other