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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 1735

Elliot Martin papers

Contains production records, including administrative and casting records, scripts, programs, and costume and scene designs, and correspondence relating to Elliot Martin's career as a theatrical producer.

Dates

  • 1947-2010

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.
This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine retrieval policies and times.

Extent

32 linear feet (34 boxes)

Contains four series of materials relating to the stage productions presented by Elliot Martin throughout his career and the administration of his company, Elliot Martin Productions. Subseries A (production records) contains production files for many stage plays and musicals produced by Elliot Martin over time. The materials in these files relate to many aspects of productions, from fundraising and organizing investors and backers, to auditioning and hiring cast members, to managing marketing strategies and preparing press photographs. Further materials include two audio recordings, production photographs, as well as Martin’s day and address books and rolodex files. Subseries B (production scripts) includes annotated scripts for productions for which Martin was a performer, stage manager, or producer. Several of the scripts are original typed versions by playwrights, and include multiple drafts or versions. Subseries C contains Playbills, loose locally produced programs, and bound programs for productions with which Martin was involved throughout his career as a performer, stage manager, and producer. Subseries D includes costumes for a production of Othello, likely in the 1970s, and scene design blueprints for “Clothes for a Summer Hotel” from the original 1979 stage production and the 1993 revival of “She Loves Me.”

Biographical / Historical

Elliot Edwards Martin was born February 25, 1924, in Denver, Colorado to Will H. Martin and Alma Harvey Martin. By seventeen, he had his own program on a local radio station, and in 1943, Martin enrolled at the University of Denver, where he studied theatre. Martin moved to New York, New York, prior to graduating, and was cast in the original London production of “Oklahoma.” When he returned to New York in 1949, he was cast in dual parts in “Texas L’il Darlin’,” his only Broadway performance. He then joined a national tour of “Allegro,” and then moved into production.

Martin began stage managing in 1953, with his first position as production stage manager for “At Home With Ethel Waters.” He acted as the production stage manager for the 1956 original Broadway production of “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” He also stage managed for the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut during the summer and on Broadway during the theater season. Martin was best known as a producer, and his Elliot Martin Productions presented many productions, including the renamed production “Never Too Late,” a newly titled version of Sumner Arthur Long’s “Cradle and All. “Never Too Late" ran for more than 1,000 performances after opening in 1962, directed by George Abbott and starring Maureen O’Sullivan and Paul Ford.

In 1967, he become the first director of the Center Theater Group of the Los Angeles Music Center, managing the Ahmanson and Forum Theaters, where he remained employed for three seasons. That included the American premiere of Eugene O’Neill’s “More Stately Mansions,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Colleen Dewhurst and directed by Jose Quintero.

Martin produced multiple O’Neill plays on Broadway, including “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” which he produced three times, in 1974, 2000, and 2007. He was also known for his encouragement of new playwrights and development of their productions, including David Mamet. He presented the original Broadway production of Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross,” starring Tom Stoppard, and also produced “American Buffalo” in 1983 and its Broadway revival in 2008. That was also his final Broadway production, though he continued to work for several years.

Elliot Martin met singer Marjorie Cuesta Austin during the production of “Oklahoma” in London; they were married in 1949, and she became his casting director, working closely with Elliot Martin Productions up until her death in 2014. They had two children, Linda Martin Giannini and Richard Martin. Elliott Martin died on May 21, 2017, at his home in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Arrangement

Arranged in two series: I. Production records and II. Correspondence. This collection was minimally processed, and materials remain in the order in which they were found.

Physical Location

HD

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2018MT-076. Gift of Elliott and Marjorie Martin, 2017 December.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018.
Processing Information 990152517990203941
Processing Information This collection has been minimally processed, and many folders were not replaced. Folder titles in cases where folders required replacement have been directly transcribed onto the physical folders, thus folder titles appear as they were originally written.
Link to catalog
Title
Martin, Elliot. Elliot Martin papers,1947-2010 (MS Thr 1735): Guide.
Status
completed
Author
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Date
2018 February 6
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
EAD ID
hou02889

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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