Mary Bryant papers

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Collection Data

Mary Bryant (1932-2004) was a theatrical press agent and representative, working primarily on Broadway. She was known for representing productions of the prominent director and producer Harold Prince. The Mary Bryant Papers document her career as a press agent with publicity materials, photographs, and correspondence.
Bryant, Mary (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1950 - 1994
Library locations
Billy Rose Theatre Division
Shelf locator: *T-Mss 1992-005
Abbott, George, 1887-1995
Prince, Harold, 1928-
Sondheim, Stephen
Publicity agents -- United States
Theater -- New York (State) -- New York
Theater -- Public relations
Theater -- United States -- 20th century
Press agents
Musical theater
Biographical/historical: Mary Elizabeth Bryant was born in Apopka, Florida on October 17, 1932. She majored in Drama at the University of Miami, where she met the legendary Broadway director George Abbott. Shortly after graduation she began her theatrical career as an actress doing regional theatre in Pennsylvania. George Abbott encouraged Bryant to consider a career as a press agent, and she began that career under press agents Sol Jacobson and Lewis Harmon. Her Broadway career began with Abbott’s Fiorello! (1959), working as an assistant press representative. Fiorello! introduced her to Harold Prince, its producer, with whom Bryant would be professionally associated for the next few decades. This was followed with a string of shows in the early 1960s, such as Toys in the Attic (1960); Tenderloin (1960); Write Me a Murder (1961); Take Her, She’s Mine (1961); and The Aspern Papers (1962). Several of these shows were directed by Abbott and produced by Prince. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962) marked Bryant’s first credit as a press representative. She continued to work steadily on shows like Never Too Late (1962); She Love Me (1963); Poor Bitos (1964); Flora, the Red Menace (1965); Mating Dance (1965); Anya (1965); It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (1966); Cabaret (1966); Agatha Sue, I Love You (1966); The Girl in the Freudian Slip (1967); Hair (1968); Zorba (1968); and Angela (1969). Bryant worked with a variety of directors and producers in her early career, but most frequently with Prince and Abbott. During the 1970s, Bryant represented all the major Prince productions, which were Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Visit (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), On the Twentieth Century (1978), Sweeney Todd (1979), and Evita (1979). Other shows Bryant worked on in the 1970s included Grin and Bare It!/Postcards (1970), Abelard and Heloise (1971), Love for Love (1974), Music Is (1976), and Side by Side by Sondheim (1977). During the 1980s and early 1990s, Bryant worked exclusively on Prince productions, such as Merrily We Roll Along (1981), A Doll’s Life (1982), End of the World (1984), Grind (1985), Roza (1987), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1993), and Show Boat (1994). During the late 1990s Bryant represented several shows produced by Livent, Inc., the production company that produced Prince’s Show Boat. The other Livent shows Bryant worked on were Barrymore (1997), Candide (1997), Ragtime (1998), and Fosse (1999). Mary Bryant died of a brain hemorrhage on February 22, 2004 in Hillsdale, New York.
Content: This collection documents Mary Bryant’s career as a theatrical press representative from the late 1950s to the 1990s with publicity materials, photographs, correspondence, financial records, and programs collected or created by Bryant while representing productions, companies and individuals. The files from productions and companies represented by Bryant consist of photographs and promotional materials like press releases and clippings from that production or company. Publicity materials contain press releases, clippings, memos, press lists, and contracts. Clippings contain complete sets of out-of-town and Broadway reviews and feature articles, master review sets, and reviews pulled for quotations that could be used in advertisements. Photographs included in this collection are posed publicity shots, live production shots, and rehearsal shots. There are actor headshots, resumes and biographies (for use in programs). Photographs are often accompanied by the caption text which would be submitted to the media. Correspondence generally consists of requests for press tickets, arrangements for interviews, memos between Bryant and members of the creative team, negotiations with photographers and advertising companies, and memos planning advertising campaigns. Financial records in this collection include advertising budgets and weekly grosses from shows Bryant represented. There is a small amount of material pertaining to the theatre industry in general and to shows Bryant did not work on, including annotated programs, photographs, clippings, and advertisements.
Acquisition: Donated by the Museum of the City of New York in 1992 and 1996.
Physical Description
Extent: 43.51 linear feet 104 boxes
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20197894
MSS Unit ID: 22457
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 374fdc30-1850-0137-3a51-3f3746d97976
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