33 Variations set

33 Variations set

I’m sure many have heard about Jane Fonda’s return to the Broadway stage in Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations.  The play is about a terminally ill musicologist who is desperate to uncover insight to Beethoven’s creativity by visiting the Beethovenhaus in Bonn where she can research Beethoven’s sketches for his Diabelli Variations.

What has gone unmentioned in the reviews is Derek McLane’s set.  To underscore the protagonist’s obsession with working in the archive of the Beethovenhaus, he has created a proscenium of nearly 200 Hollinger boxes.  (Sometimes the backdrop is also of mounds of Hollinger boxes.)  For this set, McLane has been nominated for a Tony Award.

What a great way to expose the ordinary Broadway viewer to the world of archives!

(In the picture above, furtively taken during curtain calls, you can see the leads at the bottom, from left to right:  Colin Hanks, Samantha Mathis, and Jane Fonda.  Boxes by Hollinger.)

For those of us concerned with outreach, this is a great way to introduce the user to the world of archival work.