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

    Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has just directed and produced her first film featuring Gloria Gaynor and is producing a docu-series starring Erik Estrada. Visit her website at

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