Michael Myerberg Papers, 1940-1971

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the many activities of this talented individual, although some files are fragmentary. The collection has been arranged in three series: Personal and Business Files, Mansfield Theatre/Brooks Atkinson Theatre Records, and Productions of Michael Myerberg.

Myerberg's PERSONAL AND BUSINESS FILES include items pertaining to Myerberg's interests in real estate, discotheques, theatrical production companies, and a studio in Long Island. The files consist of a few very fragmentary personal files; personal and business correspondence; incomplete files of incorporation and legal papers, and leases from Myerberg's New York theatrical production and business companies, Michael Myerberg Productions, Inc., 256 West 47th St. Corp., and 216 East 2nd St. Corp.

The general correspondence section reflects Myerberg's varied interests in real estate, concert management, and inventions of various sorts. (Correspondence pertaining to particular theatrical productions can be found in the Productions of Michael Myerberg series, filed under the production heading.) An interesting document interfiled with the general correspondence is a letter (1948 March 13) Myerberg wrote about “The Causes of Theatrical Unemployment.” In this section there is also a wealth of correspondence dealing with Myerberg's dispute with and final resignation from the League of New York Theatres (1947 January 2-1948 June 29).

Other files contain correspondence and legal documents from lawsuits, including Myerberg's divorce from his wife, Adrienne; other business and corporate records; and correspondence, proposed legislation, and news clippings regarding subliminal advertising.

In the early 1960s, Myerberg became interested in establishing a film studio on Long Island. Although the proposed studio never developed beyond the planning stages, the collection includes plans, drawings, and clippings, 1961-1963, for the Roosevelt Field, L.I., site. Instead, Myerberg eventually collaborated with Murray Kaufman (disc jockey “Murray the K”) and started “The World” (or “Murray the K's World”) discotheque at Roosevelt Field. Included are correspondence, legal papers (including papers from Murray Kaufman vs. 800 Old Country Road and Michael Myerberg lawsuit), and microfilmed clippings, 1965-1968. “The World” was very popular and successful for a short time, but soon encountered difficulties with local authorities about serving liquor to and employing minors. Management and money disputes between Myerberg and Kaufman also led to a lawsuit and hastened the demise of “The World.” At the same time, Myerberg began a similar venture, “Florida World,” for which there are files of correspondence, contracts, box office and financial statements, and other papers. Myerberg's real estate and housing development ventures are also illustrated in the collection by files of correspondence, contracts, financial statements, minutes, plans, promotional materials, and other items. Among his project are the Palisades Amusement Park, Palm Beach, Florida, and Stevmier, Inc., developer of Nalcrest Village, an East Lake Wales, Florida, retirement community for letter carriers.

The MANSFIELD THEATRE/BROOKS ATKINSON THEATRE RECORDS include correspondence, 1960-1963, with theater critic Brooks Atkinson, for whom the theater was renamed; scattered general correspondence; purchase and mortgage documents for the former Mansfield Theatre; correspondence and legal documents regarding its lease and restoration; and correspondence, guest lists, photographs, and publicity from the 1960 dedication. Several productions presented at the theater during the 1960s are represented in the collection by small files of box office statements, contracts, correspondence, scripts, ticket records, and similar records.

Included with the PRODUCTIONS OF MICHAEL MYERBERG are records of plays, films, and television shows produced by Myerberg or considered for production. All are arranged alphabetically by title. The files consist of correspondence, contracts, financial records, legal documents, playbills and promotional materials, reviews, and scripts. Scrapbooks of reviews and playbills are available on microfilm. The Cradle Will Rock, Compulsion, Dear Judas (script by Myerberg), Hansel and Gretel, The Lute Song, Patterns, and Star Dust are among the productions documented. This section includes extensive information on the award-winning production, The Skin of Our Teeth. The undated section of the correspondence for The Skin of Our Teeth contains several letters written to Myerberg by Ben Stein, stage manager of the production, revealing some of the backstage tension between members of the cast and crew.