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The Theatre of Donald Oenslager

Oenslager, Donald M.

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ISBN 10: 0819550256 / ISBN 13: 9780819550255
Published by Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University, 1978, Middletown, CT, 1978
From Tompkins Square Books (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First edition. 176 pp. with over 90 illustrations, a few in color. Very good+ in orange cloth with gift inscription on front free endpaper. Very good price-clipped dust jacket with two very short closed tears and minor rubbing. Bookseller Inventory # 001470

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Theatre of Donald Oenslager

Publisher: Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University, 1978, Middletown, CT

Publication Date: 1978

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Donald Oenslager's working career spanned fifty years of the New York stage and during those years his influence extended across the country in the work of the many distinguished stage designers who had been his students at the Yale School of Drama. His autobiographical introduction to this book is, therefore, both a history of and a commentary on the theatre in New York from 1920 to the 1970s, and it admits us to the reflections of one of the most versatile artists who worked at the center of that development. Oenslager's friend, the late John Mason Brown, says of him in the Foreward which he wrote for this book: ...for twenty-five years, indeed ever since he did the settings for Sooner and Later down at the old and much lamented Neighborhood Playhouse, he has been making contributions to our theatre distinguished not only by their professionalism but by their versatility, their rightness, and their imagination. No playgoers who saw, for example, You Can't Take It With You, Pygmalion, The Doctor's Dilemma, Of Mice and Men, The Fabulous Invalid, Life With Mother, or the Players' Club revival of Uncle Tom's Cabin, can have forgotten the vital part Oenslager played in these productions, or the humor, the elegance, the beauty, the mastery of period details, and the variety of his work... He is as adept at symbolism as he is at naturalism, and as at home in musical comedy (I'd Rather Be Right, Sweet River, Angel in the Wings) as he is in grand opera (Fidelio, Tristan and Isolde, Salome, Abduction From the Seraglio). This is a designer's book, and Donald Oenslager chose his subjects with a designer's eye and not with the eye of the impresario. Over thirty-five productions are discussed in the light of the problems of interpretation and realization that they posed to the set designer. More than ninety illustrations illuminate Oenslager's mastery of the principles of design and his ability to exploit the technical possibilities of his theatre.

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