Theatre Icons Captured by a Master

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Recently, I was invited to a lovely cocktail party at the newly refreshed Algonquin Hotel to celebrate the launch of the latest Al Hirschfeld book.

Not only is the hotel the location of the famed roundtable of literati, but equally as impressive (to me) is that the house cat, Hamlet, (one of the felines in a long line of residence at the hotel) can be viewed at the Algonquin in all his splendor.

The party was to celebrate the book, The American Theatre As Seen by Hirschfeld, 1962-2002, edited by David Leopold, the creative director of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation. This collectible coffee table book boasts nearly 300 Hirschfeld drawings showcasing the master’s works from Hello Dolly! to Les Misérables, from Fiddler on the Roof to Hairspray. Included are portraits of the creative people behind the shows: Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, Hal Prince and many more.

The first volume of this book was published way back in 1961, when Hirschfeld designed and curated the book featuring works from the first 40 years of his career. He had every intention of doing a sequel covering many more years of his professional life, but he passed away in 2003. The project was not to see the light of day…until now.

And what a spectacular new retrospective it is! Leopold has done a wonderful job curating Hirschfeld’s works over the years.

Following the party, we were invited to view the new Hirschfeld exhibit at the also new  Museum of Broadway on West 45th Street.

There, in an intimate space, you can see a wonderful retrospective of Hirschfeld’s works, from his famous line drawings to his iconic Broadway posters.

Al Hirschfeld is forever woven into the fabric of the American theatre with his fluid and brilliant drawings, capturing the essence of his subject in a glance. This new beautifully crafted Hirschfeld reflection makes a wonderful gift for any theatre lover.



  • Valerie Smaldone

    Valerie Smaldone is a 5-time Billboard Magazine Award winner and is well known for her unprecedented success holding the #1 on-air position in the New York radio market on 106.7 Life-FM, an iHeart station. She has hosted, produced, and created several award-winning nationally syndicated programs featuring in-depth interviews with stars like Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Mariah Carey among others. Her radio talk show "Bagels and Broadway" highlighted theatre and food personalities. She is an accomplished interviewer and voice artist heard on commercials, narrations, promos and audiobooks, as well as a sought after live announcer. Most recently, Valerie produced and directed a film, The Thursday Night Club, featuring pop diva Gloria Gaynor in her movie acting debut. She is one of the creators and producers of a docu-series, Divine Renovation, starring Erik Estrada, on streaming networks soon.

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